Thursday, April 30, 2009

The View from Up Here

Beau had another evaluation yesterday... his vets told me I am crazy for being disappointed with the level of progress. They were very pleased- in fact they said "it looks a million times better every time we see him!" They said the swelling was at least 50% down; I guess looking at it every day I sort of miss the little subtle changes. So, that was good to hear. We were asked to continue with the 15-20-15 sessions of cold hosing and walking... but 1 or 2 of his walks can be under saddle! Yippee!!! So, last night that's just what I did- hopped right on. I was a bit nervous with how spooky he has been, but I just needed to get my a** in the saddle! It felt so good~ he was awsome. We had one little startle, but he just sort of spooked in place, then went right back to walking. He was stiff and a bit poky- but that's too be expected with the length of time off and amount of stall rest he has had!

This afternoon Savanna wanted to go with me. She has been asking to ride Squeeke, but I have been so involved with Beau that the last thing I want to do is more laps in the driveway! So, now that I can walk him under saddle... we went together. After school she groomed while I hosed, then we walked for the 20 mins up and down the drive. Since I have been walking them together- they were happy to mosey along side by side. Savanna was so happy to ride! I didn't realize how much they missed it while I have been tied up with Beau! She even wore britches to school today so she wouldn't have to change when we got home! She cleaned her saddle and bridle before she left for school, and was thrilled to have no homework so she could head right out to the barn.

Olivia came for "moral" support and had a lead if either of the horses decided to act up. But we didn't need her! Both the ponies were great. Since neither has had any real work lately, I wasn't sure what to expect out of them- but they were perfect! Savanna was mostly able to tack up herself, which is a goal of hers. She also mounted from the ground, which she has been dying to learn! She was very proud of herself, and I was proud of the two of them too! Our little pony walked like a dream- she is such a good girl! She has only been ridden once since we got her- and that day Bill and I both tried her out, and Olivia (stronger and more confident) warmed her up. She was awsome for Savanna to tack up- she stood so nicely, and let Savanna fuss and such. Savanna is still learning to tack herself, so Squeeke put up with all of it... They really did great today... Savanna wants to show Squeeke and use her for Pony Club... I see more trips down the driveway in my future!

Beau also got clearance for a small amount of turn-out as long as he will "stay quiet" He was very glad for his first legal roll! He was out for a bit this evening. I'm not sure you could call him "quiet" but he needed to get out big time! I hosed his hock after he was out, and will try to let him have some time tomorrow if he will be calm. I'd like to try the three of them on grass. Beau also will continue with the surpass cream daily, and will drop back to 1gr bute every other day. He also had his wrapping dropped back- I'll need to have him stack wrapped every third night. It's another step in the right direction, and I'm so glad to be able to sit on him! The clinic wants him back in 2 weeks, and then maybe we will be cleared for trot work. Fingers crossed, but for now I'm just going to enjoy the view from on top of my horse!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I turned 30 on Saturday. My Mom made the cutest "herd" of cupcake ponies. She got the idea out of a book, which she gave me as one of my gifts... I think the name was "Hey Cupcake" but I'm too lazy to go up and look. She said she got it at Micheals- it has some great cupcake ideas! They were adorable, and tasty too! It's odd to say, or hear that I'm 30... it just sounds funny. I don't feel different, and I don't think 30 is old... but somehow its one of those milestone birthdays. It was really a day like any other- but we did host a nice family bar-b-que Sunday (which was my Dad's 60th)
It has been unseasonably hot these past few days. My daffodils are blooming, and the kids are psyched for the heat- we had to get out the fans for sleeping, and shorts and tank tops too! It has made hosing/walking a bit more of a chore... 90 degrees is a bit much for hours and hours of walking/standing. I'm not complaining though- it's better than rain and mud! The heat has brought out the black flies. I don't know if these little buggers exist in other parts of the country, but they drive me bonkers!

Yup, it's that time of year again! We went from winter blankets right into fly gear! In fact, Beau and Sonny wear blankets at night, and fly masks/sheets during the day! This weather is crazy- there is a cold front moving in now. It's dropping in temp and a wind has picked up. It should be back into the normal (50s and 60s) range tomorrow.

Beau is longing to go out. He heads back for another evaluation tomorrow, and I'm hopeful he will get cleared for a little turnout! He is dying to get out of his stall! He got away from me Sunday am, and ran all around the yard! The girls were hand grazing Squeeke and let her go as I yelled loose horse (they are all trained to get to a "safe" place when a horse gets loose) so she ran off too, and the two of them had a ball running for a few moments. He actually looked good- so even though the swelling hasn't gone down I'm hopeful that tomorrow will bring a new treatment plan that might include turnout and maybe some light riding! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Post for Sue H.

What is this you might ask?!

Humm. We love Squeekers very much, and part of what initially drew me to her, is that she is like a miniature Sonny. I know I've commented on it here before- and posted pictures of them together. They have really strikingly similar colors. Well. Until this week that is!

Squeeke is shedding out to be a rich dark shade of Palomino... almost a sorrel color... The girls and I have been joking that she is going from a mini Sonny to a mini Beau! Ill get better pictures when the sun is really shining on her- but she is in what Cindi calls "peek-a-boo Palomino" phase. She has patches here and there where summer coat is coming thru, and it's so fun watching to see what color she is going to be!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This little pony certainly earned her keep today! I knew I loved her for a reason... After days of being pulled and run over by Beau on his "walks" I was at wits end. The Vets now want his walking increased to 20mins 4 times daily; and Beau has been fairly certain he can't manage that. In fact, yesterday, he couldn't even handle one step of walk... let alone 20 minutes of them. For the past few days he has been prancing and jigging and snorting and bolting and, well you get the idea. I can't "get after" him too terribly- he is careful not to get into my space, but he is by no means "quietly" walking. I feel badly for him- he just wants to move... walking is no longer cutting it. He is high, and looking for every opportunity to come out of his skin. I have been watching my once placid horse slowly come unglued. I was afraid he was going to hurt himself, or even by accident me. After basically ending in tears last night, I began to formulate a plan. I had a Girl Scout event today and had to get going early... so I just held on for the ride for his first treatment- then Bill did him mid-day and said he was high as a kite. This afternoon though... I put my plan into action. We took Squeeke with us! She lead very nicely off the right, and I just walked the two of them together! It was amazing what a difference she made. Five times up and back on the driveway- not even a snort out of the fire breathing horsie. He was great! Bill came along tonight, and we made quite a foursome I'm sure- two tired souls, one "hopped" up horse and one dirty palomino pony. With the company Beau was like a different horse (more like the one I bought!) calm and relaxed. Bless her- his little mare worked herself much deeper into my heart today. She's a keeper for sure...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One week in

Today it is pouring rain, making treatment difficult. I also have a massive headache. Its been going on 4 days now... I felt sure it must be a sinus infection, but the Dr. assured me it is just "extreme sinus congestion" which he suggests if left untreated will be an infection... It has made me pretty miserable, but I continue with the ice/cold hosing and hand walking. And, I do think the hock looks better- marginally, and to someone who has not been staring at it for weeks, maybe not really at all. But I do think that between the fog in my brain, and the sheets of rain I do see the beginnings of some contour on the front. That has me hopefully. As does the fact that Beau is now bucking and trying to bolt on the lead line. Not helpful when you are trying to keep him quietly hand walking- but hopeful none-the-less.

Today is one week since the hock injection. Approximately 14 hours of hosing and about 5 of hand walking ought to have made some difference... I'll keep you posted. We had word that we might *possibly* be able to trot by the end of the week. In hand? On the lunge? Under saddle? I'm not sure, but trotting was the word!

Friday, April 17, 2009

15 - 10 - 15

My life now follows the rhythms of Beau's physical therapy. I live in treatment cycle segments for the time being. Every 3 hours we dance our 15-10-15 dance. How long I will continue this, I am not sure. Tomorrow we add massage and steroidal cream into the routine which will add to the time commitment, but once I figure it out, we will just change the tune and continue to dance.

It takes about an hour to do the whole bit for now. I'm sure the new steps will add some time, but I am beginning to get quicker at getting him out and strapped into his boot. Once we get the hose going its pretty well 40 minutes. By the time I get him put away ( I like to pick his stall too) and the ice back into the freezer, I have about 2 hours until I start it all again. Today I also gave him some hand grazing time... so this part is really labor intensive. I knew that going in. The PT vet told me it would be, but in her experience the horses who have recovered from events like this were ones where the owners were able to do intensive rehab. So, I continue without complaint.
Today the hock looks like this from the front... clearly still some swelling, but getting better for sure. He is willing and forward when we walk- stall confinement has increased his energy levels. He is very alert and prone to spooks. He does not appear to be in any pain and walks with a clear gait. I will not push him to trot or anything until I get the go ahead- but he has winged around on me a few times, and shows no adverse affect.
We begin our sessions with 15 minutes cold hosing over his new hock boot. The boot has gel inserts that go into the freezer then fit into the lining of the wrap. He wears it as I cold hose for optimal cooling affect. We then do 10 minutes of hand walking, then back to the hose for 15 more minutes. He is so good; he stands tied nicely, and I don't have to worry about him being an idiot for the hose. Thank goodness for that!

Here is a shot of the original abscess. The booger that started this all has started to work its way down the back of Beau's heel. I'll be so glad once it has grown out and I don't have to look at it any more! His hind feet are long, but we didn't dare trim them when flexion is still so painful. Maybe one day soon?!

From the inside you can clearly see the progress we are making. The steroid shot into the hock was amazing. We have clear decrease in swelling from this side. I am so happy to see actual contour for the first time in weeks! He is going without a support wrap for the first time tonight, so I won't panic if some fluid fills this back in tonight, but I have documented the progress for sure!

And, as far as Beau is concerned- that magic juice they put into his leg is great! He'd love another shot of that thank you very much! He says he feels much better now! Yahooo. I have to e-mail the vets. He has rolled every day at least once, and he did it twice today. I'm not sure if I should be letting him! I'm also not sure how long we should keep with the simple hand walking. He is willing and forward, so I'm hoping we can jump ahead a bit in the process instead of sticking to the slow work. As I understood it, next in the progression was some hand flexion and poles on the ground. I did walk him on the trail to test him on the uneven ground... there was no swelling or sign of discomfort from that, so I am hopeful...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A new plan

Beau went back for another evaluation today. I am seriously getting tired of all of this, and just getting there was an emotional struggle. We have spent (and by we I mean ME, as Bill "cut me off" thousands of dollars ago!) way more than I ever anticipated, and we still have no guarantee that he will be sound at the end of all of this. I have spent countless hours taking care of this leg. I have agonized and cried and worried myself sick. I am getting to the point where I am hopeless. Knowing all that- and watching the hock religiously- I knew he needed something... I needed a new plan, I needed to ask a few more questions... I needed to rule out a few other issues... I need him to get better.

He presented sound at the walk and mildly lame at the trot. He was very resistant to flexion of the joint, and they agreed that although we have made significant progress with soundness, the progress for the swelling is not going as we had hoped. The risk of that much pressure on the joint especially where it has been present for so long was weighing on me. All involved agreed that it needs to be addressed. We did x-rays to rule out any boney involvement. The hock looks structurally sound. We tapped the joint to get a fluid sample to test. A normal joint has levels of white blood cells below 200. Beau had 180. With no infection in the joint, it was safe to inject steroids to help with the inflammation. I also got a steroidal cream that I will begin to apply to the outside of the hock. I had a consultation with a physical therapist... Beau begins PT in the morning. It will be very labor intensive. It will require most of my time for the next few weeks. He will get a regime of massage to the joint, ice/cold hose therapy and hand walking 4-5 times daily. We will wean him off the support wraps, and hope to keep the swelling at bay with movement, anti inflammatory meds and cold therapy.

I still don't know if we will ride again. I still don't know how I'm ever going to pay this money back. But I do know, that for today anyhow, I have hope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I am by no means a particularly religious person, but I do know that the religious origins of this holiday have a lot to do with hope. In my celebration on this Sunday- I try to keep that in mind... and keep jelly beans in my hands.

Hope. It's a great thing to celebrate- at the end of a particularly dark and grey winter, I am looking for things to be hopeful for. I am having to constantly remind myself to live in the moment and not get to stressed about things I can not control. Watching the kids run around at our annual egg hunt did wonder for that. Oh, and eating jelly beans helps too.
For as long as I have lived here, we have hosted an egg hunt at Easter. I have so much fun hiding the eggs and candies and watching the kids scatter over the yards looking for them! We hide plastic candy filled eggs and dyed eggs and I "plant" lollipops in the grass. This year we also did stuffed animal critters about the yard too- it was a big hit! The kids look forward to it, and I have such fun hiding and walking along as they hunt and fill up their baskets
Instead of going upstairs to fret over all the Easter grass on my carpet or the dishes and leftovers in the kitchen or worry about Beau and his bills I'm going to stay right here- put the Easter pictures on slide show and keep hope in my heart. And eat some more jelly beans.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Feels like spring

My flowers are beginning to poke their heads up out of the soil. I am so happy to see some color and the new growth makes me so happy! I have suffered more from the winter dull-drums this year than ever in the past.
Watching the little bulbs make their way out of the leaves is one of my favorite springtime activities... Olivia cleaned off this patch- I have daffodils and tulips along the stone wall, and I walk each morning to monitor their growth. I can't wait for them to bloom. My Mom has daffodils in her yard, and they are one of my favorite flowers. This year more than ever I am anxious for their arrival. With them comes the passing of a rather long, difficult winter season.

It was beautiful out, and we were both home so Bill and I worked on some fencing projects today. I want to get the front "meadow" fenced in so that Beau can have a nice spot to recoup. I'd love for him to have a little recovery pen, but Bill wanted to enlarge the space to include the woods and connect to the existing lower paddock. It is not quite what I was planning on- logistically or work wise for the day, but it will be nice. Especially since I can turn them out from here by the house, instead of walking them out the driveway. And, they can access the water here and I wont have to worry about a trough out there. However, I wasn't too sure I wanted Beau to be able to get into any wooded areas just yet. Bill says I can't bubble wrap him... but I sure do wish I could try! I suppose I can run one line across the top of the field for his rehab...

His hock continues to slowly improve. I do think the swelling is still going down slow but sure. He is now 3 days off antibiotics, with no tenderness or fever return. He is certainly full of himself- he is about ready to jump out of his skin when I bring him out for hosing. Every little thing had him tensed right up. He bolted forward a few days ago, but I got him right back. Today I had dropped his lead and he managed to spook and get a few strides up the driveway to the fence line. He actually seemed to move well, so maybe I will hand walk him in the next day or two. I feel so bad for him, he is well over the 4 week mark for stall rest, and I can tell he would love the chance to move about. Spring is certainly in the air, and I know he would love to be out enjoying it! We shall see... he goes back in on Tuesday- for both our sakes, I hope I get the go ahead for some light work...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Foot Day

Today was foot day at the farm... everyone got their hooves trimmed or shoes reset. Fheww. Despite having a farrier in the house, I had to call and pretend I was a client to actually get a date set! I have been after him since last week... today I called after he left this morning to see if I could "get an appointment" since I knew he was free this afternoon. I was leery of doing Beau- but his navicular needs careful management- so I didn't want to wait too much longer. We skipped his hind feet- we will hopefully be able to do those in a week or two. All the others did well with their trims- I was busy holding, so no it was freezing!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vet Evaluation #1

I'm not one for prayers... but please, let my horse be sound again! Here are Beau and I on Wells beach in November... before all of this started. I hope to be back there again soon.

Today was his reevaluation. The vet came out despite our being the last client of the day (5:15pm) and torrential rain. I don't have a barn with a central aisle- so we were limited on space to look at him- his stall was going to have to's mud puddles pretty much everywhere else. She noted that my wraps looked good, and when we opened him up she did note some continued swelling- but no tenderness at all, which she said was great! She walked him in circles around the stall- no lameness noted. Then she flexed the hock and he was pretty reactive to that- there was a clear pain response... so she called to NEEC and spoke with his surgeon and asked if he wanted her to do x-rays- he said not to. Today was also his last dose of antibiotics...she wanted an opinion about his going off them too. The Dr. said for me to closely monitor the hock and to call if there is any change- but for now just to continue with 1gr bute daily and to go ahead and change the wrap once a day and cold hose for 20mins while it is off. He will go to the clinic for another evaluation Tuesday next week. So- some good, some bad and Ill have to watch carefully for any swelling/heat/tenderness or fever as we are now off the meds. I want to ride again, I so want this to be over... please!?

How is it Monday again?!

I went to the beach yesterday for a nice mid-day ride. My friend Linda was meeting some old friends of hers, and asked me to come along. Well, with Beau laid up, the next available beastie is Sonny. Humm. Sonny has had the whole winter off. But, he is a pretty laid back guy- so I figure he can handle it. Humm. Sonny has never been to the beach before. But, with the aforementioned even temper- he has taken well to every new situation I have put him in. Humm. Sonny does not load well. But, I've been working him on and off our trailer all winter (its a slant load- he certainly prefers the straight) and Linda said she would come pick us up in her straight load. So, I figure the palomino needs to earn his keep- so lets see how it goes!

When we left- it too about 25mins. Bill was here- we used lunge lines to "encourage" him to walk forward and he got right in with Miller and seemed settled- so I packed up his tack and off we went! Man, oh man. For a QH/Draft cross bought for his even temper- he was hot! And, again in his defence he has had the WHOLE winter off- and has never been to the beach! He was very tense- and I felt like he wanted to jump out of his skin at any moment! He listened well though, and I was certainly able to keep him in control- I just wasn't going to be able to relax. He did get "sticky" a few times and lost his forward- he didn't want to be pushed and we teetered on the brink of a meltdown- but he pulled it together! I was proud of him!!! By the end of the ride- he was in the waves! This horse jiggs for the hose and bath time... and I had him in the surf! So, all in all it was a nice time- in the grand scheme of things I missed being on MY horse- and I had more horse under me than maybe I wanted- but a ride on the beach beats pretty much anything in my book!
Linda and Miller were very patient with us- the boys had bonded in the trailer and Miller certainly helped Sonny relax. We had to turn back at one point- it was a beautiful day and the beach had lots of people- I didn't trust Sonny to walk thru a smaller area to get to the next stretch of sand- he was melting down and I didn't want to risk it. The boys trotted a nice long length of the beach and her girlfriends continued down. I felt bad that Linda missed being with her pals- but she was very gracious and I appreciated her and Miller immensely!
After a nice ride, it was time to load up to go home. It was a nightmare!!!! And that's an understatement. I have never seen Sonny this bad. I've heard stories of him once coming home from a show- but this was the first time I was responsible for him and he was seriously stubborn! And we are in a beach parking lot with the sun setting...with carloads of people watching the show. It took 2 hours to get him on. I was about ready to call a vet to tranq him, or start walking (its maybe 30 miles?!) when a 300lb woman in an older model sedan with handicapped plates filled with grey haired ladies cruised by with the window down and shouted "try a works every time!" Linda heard her say something about seeing it on TV but I missed that part- I was willing to try anything so we tucked a fleece vest into his halter, stuck a bucket of grain under his nose and about 2 mins later we slammed the ramp shut!
To make matters worse there was this really creepy man in a big red van parked directly behind us. He had been there when we arrived and was there when we came back from the ride. He was yelling things at us, and making hand gestures from his windows and got out a few times to "offer" advice. As soon as we had Sonny in the jerk starts tooting his horn in congratulations. Sheeze, people. He was so weird, and after the ordeal- we couldn't get out of there fast enough!
The whole day ran a lot longer than I had anticipated- and now the weekend is over, and it's Monday again! The vet comes out this afternoon to check Beau. I can't wait to take him to the beach!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Baby Cards

Since Beau has been sick, my card production has fizzled. Well, actually it has dried up! I am tired, and stressed and just don't feel creative. I have been fighting the feeling that I can't make anything look good. So yesterday was shaping up to be crappy. It was cold and raining and in the morning, on the phone with my Mom I said I wanted to try to make a card or two. She joked that I should try for 10. Well, I fell short. I only got 9, but it's way better than I have been doing! No one in particular is that great, but it was good to get some ink to paper...and a few dollars closer to paying off my vet bills!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Look what I found when I went out to feed lunch... these two down too! It must be good sleeping weather- or maybe like cows they know it's going to rain?!

Laying Down on the Job

I think both Sonny and Squeeke are taking the job of "babysitting" Beau very seriously. Sonny in particular hangs by the door most of the day. He will periodically wander off, and Squeeke always heads right on over for her "shift." But, I have found both of them asleep on the job these past 2 days. Squeeke was out in the mud yesterday- enjoying the afternoon sun... and this morning, there was Sonny napping too! Of course, I ran right over with an "oh no, here we go again" feeling... but I watched him carefully and he passed manure and was munching hay without any sign of distress. He drank and I can see him from the window, so I don't think we are going to have another colic episode, but it did cross my mind. Silly ponies- I guess its good to finally have real ground to lay on, not just ice and snow. And taking care of Beau must be really hard work- I guess they have to rest when they can!

The first wrap change

This is Beau's leg this morning when I took off all the bandage material. Let me tell you- at the clinic they used a blade and wizz, slit right down the leg and undid him in about .7 seconds. Me, I used scissors...hay scissors... and it took about 10 mins to get him undone! Next time, I'll find a razor!

He was very good for the changing of his bandages. It is really a 2 (or 3!) person job... but I think we did OK for our first time. He was great while I cleaned and dried the leg. I could grab and squeeze and rub and scrub the hock without any sign of discomfort. That makes me happy, although there is still some residual swelling... It looks about the same as Friday I think... but I have been staring at this for so long now I'm never sure any more!

This is the cast of characters for the bandage change. Minus the wet paper and cleaning materials. I really could have used another set of hands- I think I'll try to get help for the next time, but today the window sill in his stall worked fine. It was difficult to hold the wrap in place and get the next layer organized and on without letting the wrap slip at all. My pockets were stuffed with what I needed for each subsequent step, and I managed to do OK but I wasn't totally satisfied with my job...

Here is my finished product. I didn't overlap the cotton well, it slipped and I pulled it as I went over with the gauze...hence the little crater about halfway down. I also realized once I was finished that I did vet wrap from top to bottom, and he had shown me bottom to top. I don;t think it much matters, but I want there to be enough flexibility in that hock so he can bend it to move. I'm going to ask about it when I go to get more meds... depending on what they say I may redo the wrap tomorrow too. I just don't like the way that looks and I don't want to end up with a shelf for swelling to build up. The antibiotics have been going down well- there don't seem to be side effects yet, so ill go grab some more this afternoon. His temp is down, appetite up and the leg continues to look good, so I guess we are on the right road!