Monday 29 August 2022

A Quick Ride

Since we had a two-day repreive from the stupid hot weather over the weekend (fear not, it's coming back all week) I was really hoping to get on each of the ponies for an easy ride. For Cisco it would be a see how he felt evaluative kind of ride, and on Phantom I would be more concerned about how well I could walk post-ride. It's only been a few days since I stopped having any back/thigh related pain and I don't feel the need to overdo it on my first ride back.

I decided Cisco still looks a bit too off for my liking to hop on him. The swelling in his leg has come down, but at a trot he definitely looks uncomfortable somewhere in his body. He's not super lame but he's not right. It's only been a week since he stuck his leg through the fence, I'm not overly surprised that he needs some more time off. We'll aim for a walk ride next weekend when it cools down again.

I put him on the hard slanted pads behind and he didn't move for almost 10 minutes. I actually went out and brought Phantom in and walked her past him and I still had to peelhimoff the pads to turn him out. He obviously found some comfort from standing on them.

Phantom hasn't been ridden in at least three weeks. She's been giving me sad, old pony vibes lately, not in a hurry to go anywhere and always ready to take a nap, so I wasn't sure how she was going to feel.

She really wants to nap while being nebulized, but then she doesn't breathe deep enough, so I rudely have to make her go for a walk.

The plan for the ride was a 20 minute spin, mostly at walk, so that I could test out how my leg would feel afterwards. She initially toodled around on a long rein, taking slow, careful steps. I thought that when we picked up the trot she would do a shuffly jog, but nope - that released the Kracken.

I think we made it about half a lap around the ring before she attempted the first bolt. 

We had a total of three bolt attempts over the whole four minutes of trot that we did. It was partly just her being dramatic about the flies touching her face (I had forgotten to put on her riding fly mask) and partly because that's just what she does when she has excess energy. But we survived our 20 minutes and so far, so good for my leg.

It's going to be a quiet week as we all try to stay cool, but it looks like fall weather starts next weekend - my favourite riding weather.

Friday 26 August 2022

Thursday Things

 Cisco's leg continues to be on the mend. The farrier was out on Thursday and said she didn't feel any issues from him on having to keep his leg held up so that bodes well.

After three days out for delivery on the courier truck, my Flexineb was finally delivered. It was shipped to my parents house since I am never home, and for some reason couriers have a hard time finding their street. It's on a dead-end cul-de-sac that can only be accessed from the main road, not from the subdivision behind them. I don't know how many times I've had to call to give them directions, but it's been a lot.

Since I wasn't going to be able togo out to the barn on Friday, I had to go back out on Thursday evening just so I could try it out.

I was not surprised to discover that both horses had little concern about the thing stuck to the end of their nose. Well, Phantom had a small one - she couldn't scratch her leg when a fly touched her with it on. Must remember to fly spray her well first!

In typical boy fashion, Casco made his best Darth Vader impressions as we walked up and down the barn aisle. He is always rather expressive with his breathing, so I couldn't tell if his noisy breathing was because he wasn't sure about the mask or because we were walking into the sketchy area of the barn.

Phantom just wanted to close her eyes and have a nap. I had to keep her walking just to keep her awake.

I haven't heard back from the vet yet regarding the drugs she was going to order for me, so at this point they are just getting saline in the nebulizer. I will check in with her next week if I don't hear from her by the end of the weekend. I would like Cisco to have some treatments with the steroids before putting him back to work.

I also succumbed to a sale at LeMieux this morning. They're having a "not quite perfect" blanket sale this weekend, with factory seconds 50% off. That sounds like the perfect price for horses who need a new blanket every couple of years - I'm looking at you Cisco! I ordered a 200g turnout and two liners that came to $280 CDN after shipping.  I like the look of the blanket and have been very happy with the Lemieux products I currently own, so fingers crossed on these items.

Tuesday 23 August 2022

The Day After (and the day after that)

Well, Cisco's leg looked like how I expected a leg that got stuck in a fence the day before would look when I went out on Monday.

It was a little fatter around the hock than I hoped it would be, and less fatter in the rest of the leg than I thought it would be.

When I arrived around dinner time Cisco's bute from the day before would have worn off, and I think he was feeling a bit sad and sorry for himself. He got handwalked for about 25 minutes in the outdoor arena with some short in-hand trots. I think some of the fill came out of his legs especially around the hock.

Monday's leg. Honestly, not as bad as I thought it would be.

He's definitely a litle sore on it - not easily noticed at a walk unless he was turned tightly to the right - and even then a lot of people wouldn't notice his discomfort.

I didn't think he looked too bad at the trot while we were on the soft sand in the outdoor, but when I trotted him on the concrete surface in the bam he was definitely ouchy.

I'm not sharing the trot in the barn aisle - it was bad.

We will see what the next few days brings!

Hey there! Since I was too tired on Monday night to deal with adding video to this post, I am happy to say that Tuesday brought a much sassier and feeling far less sorry for himself Cisco, who's leg started off slightly less fat than the day before, but after our walk it was almost back to normal. Cisco happily took me for a walk as he normally does, and although I was leading him and couldn't really tell, his trot was much more forward and sounded much more even in the barn. When I threw some extra hay to him outside he trotted a few steps and wasn't obviously lame. 

Tuesday's leg.

I'm cautiously feeling a bit better about being able to ride my horse again!


Sunday 21 August 2022

You Try To Do Something Nice For Someone...

 I was scheduled to teach a lesson on Sunday morning. Alas, the storm that merely threatened in my area of the city overnight apparently hit full force at the barn. They had pouring rain for at least two hours, leaving everything very soggy in the morning. 

Phantom has been using mud-based hair styling products again.

No worries. I was up and ready to go so I went out early anyways. I mean, I was already in the car when I found out, but was still in the garage, so there wasn't much point in heading back into the house (although I was tempted for a moment).

Since the road wasn't going to be dusty, I decided that I would put Cisco back out with Phantom and his recently returned from summer camp BFF Pete. He'd have a couple of hours to socialize and move around a bit more than he will in the individual paddock he's been in for a few weeks. 

It all started well. Cisco and Pete immediately sniffed each other with no squeals or strikes, and Phantom emitted huge fuck off vibes so Cisco smartly stayed out of her bubble.

They had gone down to the far end to look for the few blades of grass that might have been previously missed. Cisco was trying really hard to encourage one of the others to play with him, but not being overly rude about it. 

Phantom got down to have a roll, and I got the video ready thinking that when she got up she would take off and hijinks would ensue. Wrong. She got up, shook herself off, and went back to searching for that elusive blade of grass.

They were being boring so I was just about to leave the gate and head back to the barn to find something to keep me occupied for a couple of hours when somebody made a break for it and they all galloped towards me. There was some leaping around, mostly by Cisco, and then I don't know if Cisco got a bit possessive of Phantom, but he kicked out at Pete - and one hind leg went right through the fence, and got stuck on the other side. 

Just the good bit in slo-mo.

I was still at the gate and realized right away that he was stuck. Thankfully, Cisco also realized right away that he was stuck, and he stood perfectly still and waited for a responsible adult to help him out.

The bar that he got his leg over was pretty well at the same height as the front of his leg extended behind him. His leg was in a flexed position, so the bar was resting on the flexed front of his hock. 

Think this, but the bar was higher, more level with the bottom of his stomach, so the leg was flexed more and higher. (Hind legs at odd angles are really hard to draw.)

I tried to grab him by his hoof and lift the leg up, but that did absolutely nothing. I had yelled "help" a few times as I knew there were a couple of people around, but no one came running. I frantically called the BO's SO, who I had chatted with a few minutes earlier, and told him my horse was stuck on the fence. He had just gotten to the gate when Cisco shuffled his front legs just a bit which put him at a different angle to the fence, and his leg mostly slipped free, with just a bit of assistance needed from me to get the rest of his hoof clear. Phew.

He was probably only stuck for 2-3 minutes, and thank God, he barely moved. I was behind him, and he knew I was there, but I'm honestly surprised that he didn't try harder to escape, although I'm not complaining! In the video you can hear me saying "stay there, stay there" to him as I was running towards him, and had a moment of panic wondering if me running at him would cause him to panic. That might be something useful to teach your horse - not to run away if you run at them!

Poor Cisco was a bit shaken up by this. He wouldn't let me catch him right away, though I had him within a minute or so. We went into the barn, he had some bute, and I hosed off the leg. The scrapes all seem to be superficial, so I'm not too worried about them. I'm much more concerned that something will have happened to his stifle, not that there is currently any evidence of it. He was maybe a bit off at the trot within about 15 minutes of the incident, but I was trotting in hand and trying to evaluate, so I'm not quite sure. 

Hosed off and waiting to dry.

Emma - this coating of Blu-Kote is for you!

I won't be surprised if his leg blows up by the morning. One of the ladies who rides with me is going to have a look at him in the AM and give him some bute if it got big or seems sore, and I'll be out in the evening after work, armed with wraps and maybe ice packs. Fingers crossed that he won't be worse than a bit stiff for a few days.

Thursday 18 August 2022

Vet Day

 The vet was out today and I managed to get Cisco added to her roster. I've not been happy with his respiratory rate when riding since his asthma flare-up at the end of July and I wanted him looked at and options discussed. 

When she listened to his lungs she did hear some mucous still in there.  She said that when they have a flare-up it takes three months for the lungs to heal, and steroids were going to be the best option to help this clear up.

I also had her have a peek at Phantom - I was still worried about that lump under her jaw. Good news - she said it wasn't a melanoma. Phew. I'll still keep an eye on it and if it does grow I'll get it looked at again, mostly because if it gets big it could be in an uncomfortable spot for her, but I don't have to be super paranoid about it. 

She then listened to Phantom's lungs and said they sounded clear. Another bit of relief as she is still in the paddock alongside the road. I didn't think that road dust was a trigger for her like it is for Cisco, although I'm still thinking of moving her to a different paddock for a few weeks. 

After discussing options about treating the pony's asthma, I decided to just bite the bullet and pay the bucks and order a Flexineb nebulizer. Cisco will be getting some dex in it once it arrives, and we're going to try Phantom on just saline and see how she does. Hopefully, it will arrive next week, and so will the medication that the vet is ordering for me. 

Thus, I'll be giving Cisco a few more days off. Also, it will be because it's going to be really hot again, and if I wanted to ride it will have to be in the hottest part of the day - not gonna happen. But really, he's getting time off because I need to see a vet.

I don't know what I've done to myself, but I've been having some pain and aches in my left thigh. I think it stemmed from when I initially twinged my back two weeks ago, which then bothered me a week later after a ride, but was again fine the next day, and then I felt something pop in it over the weekend - and not in a good way. Since then, I've been pretty consistently either sore or very achy somewhere in either my groin or thigh on that side - it keeps moving. It's kind of weird. But really uncomfortable. I've been foam rolling and massage gunning it, and maybe I've overdone it? I'll give it the weekend, and if it doesn't seem to be improving I might have to find time to go to physio.

Monday 15 August 2022

What Happened Last Week

 Although I had last week off, I didn't get a ton of riding in. It was just too hot for most of the week, and I don't do heat very well.

I did a few easy rides on Cisco, including one bareback. I forgot that riding bareback in the heat means you end up with very sweaty girly bits. Thankfully, I had a pair of shorts to change into as soon as I hopped off, although I wish I had had a spare set of undies in my bag too. 

I'm still not sure how he's doing with his breathing. I've had some rides under saddle that he seems fine, and others where I'm not happy with his recovery and ended up giving him some Ventipulmin post-ride. One of my vets is coming out to the barn on Thursday and I've added Cisco to her appointments, so we'll see what she says.

Lighting not due to the golden hour of sunset. Just a dirty horse.

We also did another car ride last week. I think Cisco has figured out that if Phantom is in the trailer with him, he's going to get locked up and the murder box will start moving. He was not very good about getting on. But I stuck with it, and he got better, and away we went. He was about half as sweaty as the previous ride upon arrival back home, with no dripped sweat marks on the floor of the trailer, so that's progress over the previous ride. 

Phantom's look of "can we please get this show on the road?".

A sweaty Cisco releasing his tension from the car ride. 

What else has happened? 

I was bad and bought a new saddle pad at the Greenhawk summer sale this weekend. It was black, and I have more than enough black saddle pads - but I don't have a snakeskin print one!

I'm a sucker for reptile prints (hence my crocodile patterned boots), add patent leather piping to it and I'm gonna have to buy it. It was 40% off, so that made it totally affordable. 

Phantom's Rambo fly sheet was repaired by yours truly. I picked up some sewing machine needles more suited to horsewear as I have a few blankets that need minor repairs before winter and I'm going to try to do them myself. I can sew straight lines, but not a whole lot more, but the ponies won't complain if the seams aren't straight. 

For the tears on the fly sheet I used a strip of Rambo binding that had come off the neck piece and didn't really need to be put back on. It got cut up into smaller pieces to patch all the holes, but I didn't think to check that the pieces made actual words. Seeing this patch on her side makes me giggle. 

And, just today, I finally got my car back! It was a full six weeks since I dropped it off. The extra week was because something happened to it while in their care (relatively minor) so they had to fix that as well, at their expense. But I'm back to driving it. Please - no one hit me again!

It looks like we are going to be stuck in this heat wave for another 10 days or so, and since I'm back at work and will have to ride in the evenings, there probably won't be much riding happening. We'll try to get another car ride or two in though - maybe we will be ready for a field trip in September when I'm off.

Friday 5 August 2022

Sorry - More Horse D!ck Pics

Cisco's swollen sheath went down a little overnight. It still looked like he had a pair of saggy testicles in the wrong spot though. Gravity has kicked in, and the remaining fluid has settled in the bottom front part of his sheath.

Pre-walk. My phone chose to be prudish and not focus on the manbits.

Due to the dump of rain we'd had in the morning, riding in the outdoor arena was a no-go. I considered toodling around on Cisco bareback to get him his needed exercise , but I hadn't taken a change of pants with me and was driving a rental vehicle, so we just stuck to hand-walking. I think his sheath looked better again after the exercise, but he still got some bute to help the process along.


So looks like droopy testicles.

I apparently had the moose filter on when I took this pic.

Why was I in a rental car? Well, back in mid -June, someone did a hit-and-run on my four month old car while it was parked at work and caused $3500 worth of damage to my rear bumper and taillight. I dropped it off for repairs on July 4th for what was supposed to be a 7 working days job. Once they took the bumper off they realized they needed a piece that I don't think they knew about when they did the estimate,and, surprise surprise in the current world order, that part wasn't available and had no ETA.

The light alone was something like $850. It doesn't look like much, but it was just under $3500 worth of damage.

So I've been stressing the last couple weeks over how long it would take and if my insurance was going to stop paying for the rental once I hit my cap. I got a call yesterday from the repair place, not to say that it was ready for pickup, but that they'd somehow managed to lock the keys in the car while it was in the paint booth. I had to zip over with my other key to unlock it. Hopefully, the car will be done today, and I can go back to not having to gas up every week again, or worry about riding bareback.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 4 August 2022

The Attack of the Flies

 Poor Cisco. This summer has been a bit hard on him.

Apparently, the flies have been attacking him. There were enough bug bites on his neck when I took his blanket off that I was initially worried that he had hives, but under the blanket he was fine.

Taking the blanket off revealed something else however - a very swollen sheath.

It looked like his balls were trying to grow back in the wrong spot.

I'm assuming that it's due to the bugs, and maybe not moving around as much as he is still in the individual paddock. There was also some evidence of some edema having been on his chest, with just some saggy skin left over. 

Some weird saggy bits.

None of that was there on Monday when I was out, so it had all just happened in the last couple of days. 

I hadn't planned on riding, but needed to get that swelling down. I dug around in the car and found a pair of fleece-lined leggings that would have to do (it wasn't hot enough that I would die with them on, but it would be warm) and didn't plan to do enough that my lack of a sports bra would be an issue.

I'm pretty sure that I felt a waddle in his step. The footing in the outdoor was a bit damper than ideal so we tried to keep it to a quiet trot in the half of the ring that was usable, and by the end he felt better than he did at the beginning.

He had some bute before the ride, and I think the swelling close to his body came down a bit after exercise. It was still pretty fat though.

Post-ride old man saggy faux balls.

I've got to pick up some Swat today and will apply it liberally to his bottom bits and see if that helps the bug situation. I'm still trying to decide on where he stands regarding his asthma, and if the swelling stays up over the weekend I guess we'll have to see the vet next week for an all-over check-up.. 

Tuesday 2 August 2022

More Car Rides

 We are apparently back at square one with Cisco's confidence about trailering. 

Last summer, we were going on weekly car rides, and managed to get to the point where he finally came off the trailer dry and not a stressed sweaty mess.

However, he hasn't been on a car ride since whenever we last did it last year (it would have been in September or October). We did one practice loading session a few weeks ago, for which he was great, but he hasn't been fully loaded and locked in. 

Since I haven't been riding with the heat, I took the truck out last Thursday with the intent of a quick car ride to get him familiar with it again. I'm having vague thoughts about wanting to do something, anything, with Cisco away from home before the end of the summer, and I want to make sure that he can at least arrive relaxed (pretty sure he won't be when we unload) and that he will reliably get back on to go home. I fully accept that he might need an emotional support animal, ie. Phantom, for the first couple of times away from home, especially if he needs to go inside somewhere like the vet clinic. Strange buildings are still very concerning for him.

I hoped that since the last loading session went so well that he would hop on pretty quickly next to Phantom. That was a big fat nope. 

He was very sticky and I could see the concern in his eyes. I don't know if he remembered that if there is another horse next to him that means he'll be shut up inside or not, but he was just not getting fully on to the point that we could put up the butt bar.

After about 20 minutes, I pulled Phantom off, and went back to schooling the getting on for Cisco. I moved the divider aside to give him a bit more space, and he hopped right on the first time. Of course. 

I gradually moved the divider back, and every time he went right on up to the front and stood quietly. I don't know why he wouldn't with Phantom on. 

In the end, we got both horses on and had a leisurely drive around the neighbourhood. 

Which resulted in a soaking wet Cisco upon unloading. 

One gross, sweaty mess of a pony. Who was not at all happy to have a cool shower afterwards.

Not pee marks - sweat that dripped to the floor marks.

Looks like we are going to have to go back to weekly car rides again. 

Monday 1 August 2022

Forgot His Inhaler

 Our summer went from rain almost every day for 3 or 4 weeks in a row, to pretty well no rain since the first week of July. And it got hot. Pretty well as hot as we get.

Cisco reacted by picking up a cough. Which turned into a bit of an asthma episode.

The paddock that the ponies live in is alongside the road - a dirt road. When it's been as dry as it's been of late, passing cars kick up quite a bit of dust. 

I've wondered in the past if that dust could be causing problems. Cisco has had a bit of a cough other summers for short periods, but I was never sure if it was the dust, the heat, or some years, the air quality that caused the cough, and it never seemed to last for more than a few days.

This year, he coughed a couple of times through a couple of rides, and then on one ride he was coughing so much when I tried to trot that all we did was walk for half an hour. When I went back out two days later, his respiratory rate was noticeably up and he was coughing at rest.

I put him on Ventipulmin for about 4 days and talked to the barn owner about moving him to another pen further away from the road to see if that made a difference. It's a single horse pen, and I prefer my horses to be turned out with buddies, but breathing is kind of necessary, so we'd both have to suck it up. 

I think it has made a difference. I haven't heard him cough at rest since that one night. The only ride that I've done (it's been too hot to ride after work most of this week) was much better, though he still had one coughing episode after about 20 minutes of trotting. I hadn't intended to do much on that ride as it was only a few days since the night his respiration was up, though Cisco had other plans and was a wee bit sassy about everything. 

Although he was very good the night before our ride when we did some TRT groundwork, and for once he didn't feel the need to be in my pocket the whole time. 

At one point about 10 days ago I almost said fuck it and ordered a Flexineb nebulizer, but I didn't, although I'm still thinking of it. I'm just trying to figure out if using it with just saline is of benefit or not. Since Phantom also has asthma and gets Ventipulmin before rides, the nebulizer could get enough use to justify the $1500 price point. We'll see. If this continues with Cisco and he sees a vet I'll have a discussion with them about it, as it will work best with prescription drugs. 

We'll see how it goes this week. The temperatures are forecasted to be much cooler and we will hopefully get some rain. I also want to see if there's somewhere where I can put both ponies away from the road for the rest of the summer. There are paddocks next to where the arena was/will be that are empty, but I don't know if there is access to put water out due to the arena work.