Thursday, June 21, 2012

Update on an Update

Recently I posted an update on my horse.  Boy, have I got good news on this front.  As some of you may remember, my mare had a bad run of luck in December.  She foundered and had bad rotation in both of her front feet.  You can read the details to figure out what all of that means Here! 

Just so you know, while searching for the right link to post above...cried all over again reading it!

If you are brave enough to click the Here! link above, stop and grab a tissue first.

Back to the good news.  As I mentioned in the post, my veterinarian said that we could take a new set of X-rays in six months and see if we have any improvement.  He eluded to minimal improvement at that time.  Nothing to really get super excited about, but maybe something.

This last Monday was our six month rendezvous.  He came out first thing in the morning.  We had a nice chat and got caught up on things.  He had a nice Father's day, you know the type of conversation I am talking about.  Then it was time to get to business.

After experiencing a set of X-rays before, I was better prepared for him this time.  I had moved a trunk in front of her stall that he could use as a mock desk, and had even located a chair for him.  This made him laugh because the last time he was here, he placed his machine on a stool, and sat on a bucket.  He is a little bit older of a guy, and while I was embarrassed previously because of this scenario, he down played the whole thing.  Just simply stating that he was happy to be in a barn and not outside in the cold weather.

It was December, remember?

He quickly got everything set up, then asked to see her move.  I brought her out, walked her about ten steps, then got her up to a trot.  We went a short distance, stopped, turned and trotted back.  He was pleased with the way she was moving, and the way she was looking.  You have to know that she has dropped a considerable amount of weight.  She has also had very restricted movement for the last six months.  With all this, she is still muscled very nicely. 

The girl is cut.

We took her back in the barn and then proceeded to take the X-rays.  It is hard to explain, but I will do my best to give you a visual on the process.  First, she has to place one foot on a wooden block about two inches tall.  This is unusual for her because one foot is two inches higher than the other.  Once we accomplished this task, another square plate is placed between her feet, up to the one being X-rayed.  This plate is wired to the machine, and has to stand up without touching her leg.  Then he comes on the outside of the leg with a hand held device that actually shoots the picture.

Here is the visual.

I am standing at her head with one hand on her nose and the other on her halter, to keep her from stepping forward off of this block of wood.

I am standing on one foot, with the other behind the plate between her legs to keep it upright.

This is a stretch for me.

My vet is getting his machine ready.

"I feel like this is a weird game of Twister."

He laughs.

He comes in with the hand held machine to take the shot.

"Hurry, I think I am getting a cramp."

He laughs again.

Then we repeat the whole scenario for the other side.

We get her situated, then move to the machine to look at the X-rays.  The right leg that was previously a 10 degree rotation...5 degrees.  We can't believe it.  The left leg that was previously a 13 degree rotation...6 degrees.  Shock!  So much so, that he remeasured the thing about ten times.  I think he was doubting himself.  This couldn't be right.  He couldn't believe it.  He said that these numbers would be outstanding after a year.  He would be doubtful at seeing them even then.

"Whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it!"

At this point, he just kept shaking my hand, expressing how pleased he was with her progress.  We have a date six months from now to do this all over again.  To say that I was ecstatic would be putting it mildly.  I immediately called a long list of people.  The funnier part of this story comes next.

This horse has been confined to a very small space for six months.  About two weeks ago, I started letting her out in the pasture for short bursts of time.  She has not ventured far.  She stays around the barn and eats grass.  We started with about twenty minutes and had progressed to a couple of hours.  Still not a lot of excitement from her.  Prior to our good news, we were secretly worried about this. 

Was she not trotting off or exploring more because she hurt too much? 

There are even some new horses on our back fence line, and while she has vocally communicated with them, she had no interest in going back there for an introduction.  This is not her normal personality.  She has always been the most social horse we have owned.

After the vet left on Monday, my farrier was due to come and trim and shoe both horses.  I knew we had a little bit of time, so I let her out in the pasture.  My thought was that she could stretch her legs a little, and maybe be in a better frame of mind when he showed up.  She doesn't enjoy the shoe-ing experience, and we have been giving her small doses of a mild tranquilizer to help her get through it.  I go inside and proceed to clean my boy's stall.  Just as I am done, I hear her scream.  Then he screams.  The boy has a set of lungs.  I grab the wheel barrow and open the back door.  By the time I get the door open and get out there, she is gone.  She must have shot off like a rocket because she was already across the creek and giving a very ill-mannered mare the once over.

I couldn't believe it.

I stopped and watched them for a minute.  It seemed like normal behaviour.  There was a lot of posturing going on, some squealing and stomping of feet.  They settled down and she started grazing.  I was left wondering if she could possibly have understood what the vet said about her progress.  It was almost like she felt she had been given the green light.

I went about my work, and it wasn't long until the farrier showed up.  As he was getting his equipment out, I grabbed a halter to go back there and get her.  I could see that things were heating up between her and the dominant mare on the other side of the fence.  That mare actually had her head all the way over my fence, trying to take a bite out of my mare.

I do not like horses putting their head over the fence.

It leads to bad things and it is bad for fences.

I get back there, Blaze takes a little run away from me, then circles right back to me.  I put her halter on her and lead her back to the creek.  She was screaming the whole way.  She was more than a little fired up apparently.  Once we got to the creek, she reared up on me.  I got her under control, and we crossed the creek.  She reared up on me again, this time coming down and trying to run off.  Mind you, I am on the other end of the rope.  I didn't loosen my grip, and we continue to the barn.  Only at this time, I have my hand on the side of her face, the other on her neck, pushing her to the barn.  She walked sideways the entire way, screaming the whole time.

We made it to the barn, and I got her inside.  She was wound for sound.  That is when I realized she had lost a shoe.  A very expensive shoe that we have been re-using.  It is not like she has been putting a lot of mileage on them and we need to save money where we can.  I was furious and happy and mad and frustrated and a lot of other things all at the same time.  Long story short.  We looked for the shoe, but no luck.  He didn't have any on his truck so we had to reschedule for the next day.  She went in her stall, where we taped a pad on that foot, and left her to calm down.

Later that evening, I made another walk down that fence line for two reasons.  One, to find the shoe, which I did.  Two, to evaluate the hot wire that I have running along the top of that fence.  We had an electric fence controller hooked up to it in the past due to our old stallion and a gelding that liked to fight over that fence.  A few zaps of electricity, and they argued from their perspective sides.  A horse with it's head over the fence is a bad idea.  I bought a new solar controller for that fence today and it is charging as we speak. 

There is a mare in the neighborhood that is about to get a big dose of manners.

Longer story money pit of a mare is paying off.  I am so pleased for her.  I thank the Lord for hearing our prayers.  He has gone above and beyond what we asked for.  I never thought I would be looking forward to seeing my vet again. 

I can't wait.

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