I'll let you know how it does once the scab falls away.
So here's a quick update on Izzy's sarcoid. The wound site isn't clear yet, but it's looking good, and Izzy isn't bothered by me poking around at the scab. Not to be outdone by his older brother, Izzy gets his own daily ointment.
Would you believe it's the first jar of Swat I've ever purchased? Dr. Tolley suggested the Swat since the hole left by freezing off the sarcoid was pretty big, and it is a sensitive area after all.
It actually looks really good. There's no swelling, and as the scab shrinks, pink, healthy skin is showing through. I really want to just yank the scab off, but I am resisting as the scab is probably protecting that new skin from biting flies and dirt.
I'll let you know how it does once the scab falls away.
Have I mentioned that it's been particularly hot here? This summer is currently ranked as the third (maybe second) hottest summer in Bakersfield's recorded history. Heat does stuff to horses, and it's not all good.
In early August, a weird crack appeared in Speedy's heel. I cleaned it thoroughly and was relieved to discover that it didn't both him at all. He was sound, and I could poke and prod at the wound without Speedy even noticing.
When it didn't close, I started to worry a little. Since we were already at the vet for vaccinations, I asked Dr. Tolley to take a look. He wasn't quite sure what it was either, but explained that it was probably a small nick that was being irritated by dirt, flies, heat, and bright sunlight. He prescribed an antibiotic ointment and suggested I keep it wrapped until the crack closed up.
The wrap and the Animax ointment did the trick. Within a week, the crack was 99% closed and things were back to normal. Within less than a week, the crack reappeared, just as big as before. By this time, Izzy was at the vet for his hock injections, so I updated Dr. Tolley on Speedy's heel issue.
He wasn't overly freaked out about it, but he could see that I wanted/needed SOMETHING else to try. He even said that. Do you want something else? YES. Give me something that looks medicinal, and give it to me quickly!
To my surprise he gave me Genta Spray which is something we've used for our dog when he had a funky skin condition on his belly. It worked great for Tobias, so my hopes were high that it would work for Speedy.
I quit wrapping Speedy's foot (thank goodness as hoof wrappings are a serious pain in the butt), and per Dr. Tolley's recommendation, I fashioned a sun shade/fly swatter out of a sock and now keep that on his foot. You can sort of see the edges of it in the top photo.
I can't say the Genta Spray has worked miracles, but the crack does look better. It's not getting bigger, and Speedy is sound as can be. However ...
A friend recommended Equiderma for all funky skin ailments, so I just started putting that on the crack. I don't think it can hurt anything, and according to the comments on Facebook, most people love the stuff.
Who knows? Fewer daylight hours, less flies, and cooler weather might be all it needs. I'll be watching it to see!
Well hallelujah. Speedy has finally put on a few pounds. It took all summer, but he finally filled out under my leg again. It was when I saw this picture from our show a week or two ago that I noticed.
We all know that I've got some weird position thing going on in that photo, but ignore that. If you'll notice, Speedy's badonkadonk is looking nicely rounded, and he actually has a bit of a tummy.
Here he is in early May when I really started to worry.
He's obviously not emaciated or anything, but I like the flesh to cover the ribs and not stop half way. By mid-June, his ribs were covered in flesh, but just barely. He looked like this.
When he went to see the vet in early August, Dr. Tolley gave him a 4 on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System. I am not comfortable with a 4. I want my horses flirting with a 6. Contrary to what I thought, the doctor assured me that he looked quite healthy and that there was no problem with Speedy's weight.
Here he is this week.
No, he is not pregnant. This is just an awkward place to take conformation photos as his front feet are in a hole. That makes his belly seem lower than it is. But since all three photos were taken in the same place, it's a good way to see the change in his form.
I don't know that he's put more on weight since Dr. Tolley last saw him, but he's definitely a bit rounder than he was earlier in the summer. Dr. Tolley agreed that he could easily carry a few more pounds, but putting them on was going to be a challenge.
Speedy already gets as much alfalfa as he'll eat, 3 pounds of LMF Senior each morning, 1 and a half pounds of beet pulp with another pound and a half of LMF in the evenings, and 2 scoops of Platinum Performance. Dr. Tolley said that if I really wanted him rounder, my next option was to add in a fat source that doesn't have any volume. When I've fed him rice bran, he just eats less hay. Speedy just can't fit any more in.
So far, I think I've settled on flaxseed oil, but I haven't ordered it yet. Platinum Performance has a product that I want to investigate further - Healthy Weight. But as with all things from PP, it's expensive.
If you've tried it, or something similar, let me know. Now that Speedy is nice and round, I'd hate for him to lose it all once it starts to cool off.
I've owned Speedy since he was a gangly three year old. He was all hips and withers back then. As he grew up, he filled out and eventually started packing on some pounds. He's always been a relatively easy keeper without the need for much in the way of supplements. He looked so good that quite a few people at a 2015 late fall show doubted me when I explained that he was indeed a purebred Arabian and not a warmblood/Arab cross.
Throughout 2016, Speedy lost a fair amount of his muscling when we struggled with an intermittent lameness. Then, in the summer, we moved to the ranch where we are now. With our current arrangement, Speedy gets turned out from dinner until breakfast. His daytime paddock has a cover, but he can go in and out at will during the night. So even when it rained over the winter, he had shelter at night.
By about January, I started expressing some concern to the ranch owner. Speedy was getting kind of ribby under his winter coat, something I've never seen him do before. We discussed his hay ration and agreed that he was getting pretty much all he could eat already. I increased his beet pulp and rice bran a little bit, but he never put the weight back on.
By spring, I could actually see a faint outline of ribs and his hips started to jut out a bit. As the weather warmed up, I was confident he would start packing on some pounds. He didn't. So by the beginning of May, I started to really worry that he might have a metabolic condition that was preventing him from gaining weight.
I had another conversation with the ranch owner expressing my concern with Speedy's weight. He was getting all of the alfalfa he would eat, I was supplementing with beet pulp, rice bran, and Platinum Performance, and yet, he still wasn't gaining back his pre-winter weight. I told her that if I didn't see some kind of change by the beginning of June, I was going to take Speedy in to the vet for some blood work.
Through our discussion, she pointed out that Speedy might simply be burning off more calories in his night turn out than we realized. At our last barn, where he lived for five years, Speedy had a large stall/paddock that was about 24 by 36 feet, generous by most standards. He had a small track worn into the ground where he paced and circled, but it wasn't big enough to walk miles. His current turnout is.
With that explanation as a possibility, my worries began to dissipate. We hatched out a new plan: she would feed a morning ration of a pound and half each of rice bran and LMF Gentle Balance (I may switch this out for a different formula when the bag is gone). In the afternoons, I would feed 3 - 4 pounds of beet pulp and another pound and a half each of the rice bran and LMF. That would all get topped off with his Platinum Performance.
A week later, I am already seeing the tiniest bit of padding starting to develop. He's getting a good eight pounds of supplemental feed daily in addition to all the alfalfa he can consume. I am giving him until the end of June to put on a bit more weight. If I don't see it, he's definitely getting some blood work done.
I wish I could simply walk off my excess pounds!
When I pulled Izzy up to the mounting block on Monday, he took a really wonky step. I hand walked him a few strides and noticed that there was definitely a hitch in his stride coming from the hind end. My first thought was that it was a cramp from all of the backing up he had done to avoid the bridle.
I reasoned that he might walk out of it. I got on anyway and asked him to just keep it slow and easy at the walk. Given how dramatic his meltdown had been over the bridling process, I figured that a quiet walk was probably just what he needed. After twenty minutes, he was no sounder, but not worse either, so I called it quits.
There was no swelling nor a wound, and he was bearing weight on it, so I turned him out in his paddock and hoped for the best. I watched him for a while as I puttered around, but the lameness got worse by the minute. By the time I left for home, I knew it had to be an abscess.
A lifetime caring for my own horses has given me a pretty good sense for when the vet needs to be called. A horse who is eating happily with a cocked leg is not one of those times. Even though Izzy took the classic stance - toe pointed down and a reluctance to bear weight, I decided to just watch it and see how bad it would or wouldn't get.
I gave him a gram of bute for several days, which he refused to eat, but other than poke around with a hoof pick, I just let it be. The next day, he actually looked better. He was bearing more weight on it, and by Wednesday, I started to think the abscess had absorbed or that it had been a cramp afterall.
On Thursday, I found the telltale drainage hole. It must have just blown before I got there because it was still oozing. I gave it a gentle squeeze and was rewarded with clear seepage that was odor free. Again, I left it alone without washing it or soaking it.
We had record rainfall last weekend which turned parts of Izzy's paddock into a soupy mess. He had high ground to stand on, but the mud no doubt softened his feet allowing a grain of something to work its way in. For me, having the abscess blow out through the heel bulb is the perfect scenario. Those heal almost as soon as they pop.
It's raining again right now with a forecast for continued rain through Saturday, but we had really warm and dry weather this week which eliminated nearly all of the mud. Hopefully the hole closed yesterday afternoon, but I am defintiely going to give it another close examination today.
If my horse is going to be lame, an abscess is just about the best case scenario!
The worst part about buying and selling the two houses was that I was simply not able to be out at the barn like I usually am. Like a lot of riders, I make notes about every barn visit: who got ridden, who got walked, who has an owie, and so on. While I shoot for seven days a week, I usually miss about three days a month.
That one was July's page. I didn't miss a single day, but that was because I was making up for the 16 days I missed while we were in Italy in June. Here's October's page - every slash is a non-barn day:
During the week of the 9th, I managed to run out and at least check on my boys, but that was it. One mid-week visit was simply not enough for Speedy G. The ranch owner sent me a text on the 16th saying that Speedy was lame at the walk.
Trusting her read on the situation, I didn't make it out that day, but I was there the next. Speedy looked decent at the walk, but he was grade three on a trot out. He still is, but at least he's looking better. There isn't a single mark to account for the lameness and he has no swelling or filling anywhere. I feel comfortable just waiting it out. As he has done so many times before, he probably just whacked himself during all of his pacing and whirling (in his enormous dry pasture). I am sure he's just bruised.
While pretty ugly, the gash in his face is less worrisome. I am glad I didn't see it on the day it happened because after a day or so it was still deep enough to put my finger in. I've been gently coating it with coconut oil, and it already looks much better. It's probably going to leave another scar, but it will be just one of many.
While a bit dirty and covered with flies, Izzy fared much better over the week. He had a couple of small nicks on his legs, but by the time I saw them, the skin was already flaking off and clean skin had already grown in. Instead of whirling and pacing like his dorky big brother, he spent his time digging a massive hole.
While I love that Speedy adores me, I wish he didn't feel the need to pine for me so dramatically. Now that I have time to ride him again, he has to remain bored as he is too lame to ride. I sense an O. Henry tale in all of this. Irony ... it seems to be an essential part of horse ownership.
Preparing for vacation is exhausting. I definitely need a vacation after all the work it has taken to prepare for this one. I am sure some travelers can simply toss a few things in a bag and catch a flight, but I am not one of them. I wish I could do it, but I am too much of a worrier.
I've spent the last few weeks confirming reservations, arranging tours and guides, buying tickets online, and exchanging currency. I've also had to do some shopping, get a pedicure and haircut, and wash my car. Even I am rolling my eyes at those last few. Who is going to notice a fresh trim? Probably the same person who is going to watch my car get dusty in airport parking.
For most people, that's the extent of their preparation. If you own animals, the work continues. I had to arrange a house sitter to care for our two dogs which took three pages of directions. In my defense, I had to explain the alarm system, my cleaning lady's schedule, and what to do when the gardener comes.
But the preparations didn't end there. I also had to prep for the horses which took a whole truckful of supplies because all of my feed was approaching empty. Even though Izzy gets alfalfa/oat cubes as his main diet, I also feed him a small amount of hay each day to supplement the cubes. There was less than a 1/2 bale left, and all three of my feed barrels were nearly empty.
Thankfully, school let out this past Friday which meant I had most of the week to get everything done. On Tuesday, I unhooked my truck from the trailer to get hay and feed. It was good timing because I also had to get it smogged in order to pay my 2016 DMV fees which are due this month. The smog technician didn't even bat an eye when I pulled into the station with a truck load of hay.
Buying hay and feed is easy; unloading everything is not. I spent several hours stacking hay and filling feed barrels. Everything also got a good spring cleaning: the feed barrels got dusted out, old hay was raked up, my first aid box got reorganized, and all of my boots and pads got hung out of the reach of the mice. Unused stuff seems to attract them.
My friend, KG, also came over to make sure she knew where everything was. She's going to be doing turnout and fly spray work for the first 9 or 10 days that we're gone. Then she's going on vacation so any turnout or fly spray will be up to my barn owner for the last week.
On top of all that, I've also been riding. I won't miss scooping poop or dragging the sprinklers around, but I am going to miss my boys. I know they'll be fine while I am gone, but it's really hard to trust that others can do just as good a job as I do. Scooping feed and using fly spray are tricky job, don't you know?
Are you a throw-it-in-the-bag-and-go traveler, or are you more like me? Please share your own "Going on Vacation, Here's My List" stories.
I am such a sucker for good customer service. I am always willing to pay more for a product if I know with complete certainty that the company is going to treat me as though they really want me to come back. And if they listen to my feedback and try to make whatever "it" is right, I am hooked for life.
The Riding Warehouse and Smartpak are two companies that check off those boxes. And coincidently, both are having really good sales this Memorial Day weekend. At the Riding Warehouse, you can save 15% site-wide today with no code, and SmartPack is offering up to 20% off for USEF members with the code MEM16 at checkout.
But those two companies already have my regular business. I am talking about the folks over at Platinum Performance.
A week or two ago I wrote a blog post about mineral supplements. A few days later, I got a very polite email from Amy at Platinum Performance. She had seen my blog post and wondered if I would like to talk to one of their advisors about equine nutrition. She also offered to send me a free bucket of Platinum Performance if I wanted to give their product a try.
How could I say no? I was clearly interested in the product, and I did have a few questions. I sent a reply back saying I would love to speak with someone and that I would call back the next morning.
To my surprise, when I called, Heather E., the advisor to whom I had been referred, was actually available. And not only was she able to chat, she already knew a little bit about me. Man, these guys know how to reel you in! I love that kind of customer service.
Heather and I talked for a good 40 minutes. I think she would have happily stayed on the phone with me longer, but my recess bell rang ending the phone call. My life revolves around school bells.
My three concerns, all of which she addressed thoughtfully and intelligently, were 1) price, 2) extra energy, and 3) ingredients that my horses don't need.
Okay. There isn't a lot she can do about this one. Platinum is expensive, but ... she did point out some things that make the product slightly more affordable. For one, if you already give a bunch of supplements (I don't), Platinum Performance can replace most of them making your supplement regimen cheaper.
This issue warrants its own blog post, but I had already taken Izzy off the Quiessence for a trial period to test the product's efficacy. One week into the trial, Izzy actually seems more relaxed now that he's off the magnesium. This is most likely coincidental though.
We had an awesome lesson with Dr. Christian Schacht a week ago where I had a giant "break through" moment, so it could actually be more related to that. I had also started the horses on BVH's mineral supplement which provides selenium and Vitamin E, among other things. That could also be making him feel better.
In truth, I never noticed any changes while he was on the magnesium anyway. I was too afraid to take him off of it though for fear that he would be more tense than he already was.
That's a really long way of saying that if I switch to the Platinum Performance and stop the Quiessence, I won't be spending quite as much as I would have.
There's more to the price thing though. Heather explained that through the magic (my word, not hers) of Platinum's formula, Izzy's whole metabolic system would begin working more efficiently. This would have the benefit of reducing the amount of feed that he would need which is ultimately a cost saving measure. You would be shocked at the quantity of roughage that dude consumes on a daily basis.
On top of that, she suggested that the added rice bran he gets every day should also be eliminated as Platinum Performance provides rice bran as an ingredient which would mean he wouldn't need extra. Reducing his rice bran would also save me money.
An increase in the horse's energy level is was one of the unintended effects of feeding Platinum Performance that I have been warned about. We all know that Izzy doesn't need any more energy. He's already the destroyer of all things. I raised this issue with Heather. Rather than downplay my concern, she tackled the question head on.
Since Platinum Performance works on the whole body, it reduces inflammation and supports all of the horse's systems. The result is that it makes the horse feel really good. Initially, she explained, this can come across as too much energy. She said that once the horse is used to feeling good, the over-energized feeling will fade.
To help deal with excess energy, Heather outlined a plan for phasing in the Platinum Performance slowly while simultaneously decreasing energy sources such as rice bran. I really appreciated this approach as so many products actually use loading doses which add to the initial price of the product.
Ingredients That My Horses Don't Need:
I wholeheartedly subscribe to the KISS method of horse care - Keep It Simple, Stupid. Most of the supplements out there aren't tested by independent labs and they certainly don't have independent research that supports their claims of efficacy. Platinum Performance does.
So while its ingredient list is bigger and more encompassing than what Dr. Tolley views as the minimum requirement, he doesn"t dislike the product. His own formula targets the specific vitamins and minerals that our hay is deficient in. Platinum Performance goes beyond that providing support for the whole horse through the use of amino acids (which help build proteins), Glucosamine (for joint health), macro and trace minerals (which help the body's systems to function), and vitamins (which along with minerals serve as anti-oxidants).
It's hard to say that my horses don't need any of those. Will they die tomorrow without added folic acid? No, but the added amino acids and minerals found in Platinum Performance are all things that my horses do need. I don't think there is one ingredient that is simply a filler or junk.
You can probably see where this is all going. I decided to give Platinum Performance a try, but I am doing it on the company's dollar. That's right - Platinum Performance is sending me a bucket for free, no obligation. They simply asked me to try it. And since I am going on vacation for several weeks, they've agreed to ship me a fresh bucket so that it arrives just as I come home in late June.
Izzy will get to try it first while Speedy remains on Dr. Tolley's vitamin and mineral supplement. Izzy's needs are a bit more complicated than Speedy's are. Speedy is such an easy keeper that I am going to see how it effects Izzy before I decide whether to put both horses on it. And if it does indeed reduce Izzy's feed requirements, the decision will be much easier to bear financially.
If you're reading this, Platinum Performance, your willingness to reach out to potential customers and chat about our horses' needs without being pushy is very much appreciated. Letting us try your product for free says you truly believe we'll like it. I am looking forward to having you on my team!
I work really hard to avoid afternoon appointments, but lately, they've been hunting me down. I rode Izzy on Monday afternoon, but then I've meetings on Tuesday and Thursday that kept me away. The farrier was out, so I was eager to get there on Wednesday to check out how Izzy and Speedy's feet looked.
I have to be the luckiest gray horse owner alive. Not only does my nearly white horse keep himself impeccably clean, but he has the hardiest white feet I have ever seen. I couldn't even tell that they'd been trimmed. Speedy rarely has chips or flares of any kind. For this go round, I think my farrier shortened and buffed them a bit to make them look pretty, but I bet he spent all of ten minutes and not a second more. There simply wasn't much to do.
Speedy's feet are so lovely that I didn't even hesitate to take him on a hack around the neighborhood on freshly trimmed feet. He is never sore after a trim and doesn't care whether we choose the dirt shoulder or just mosey right down the middle of the road.
As I was photographing his toes, I looked up at his left eye and was shocked to see that he had clearly gotten in a brawl with someone. I hope the other guy looked worse than he does!
I usually notice stuff like this much more quickly, but when I haltered him, I was focused on his feet and didn't even look at his face. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it looks like he scraped his lower lid. It's all dried up, and it wasn't particularly sensitive to touch. It's just swollen and unsightly.
Before I saw his eye, I had planned on doing a regular schooling ride, but after I saw it, I ditched that plan. I've had some eye issues myself over the past year and know how irritating it can be to try and focus (mentally) when you can't see well. Given our limited light anyway, I was happy to just swipe a brush over his back and throw on my riding halter.
I didn't even change out of my muck boots to ride. We were both bootless as a matter of fact. And I know I've shared this a million times already, but Speedy has the world's most awesome bareback space upon which to lounge. His back is so wide and flat that even a non-rider would have trouble falling off.
We did our regular neighborhood loop which included a stop at the apple tree for a few late fall apples. If there were apple trees in a dressage court, Speedy's leg yield would earn a 10 every time. It's amazing how well he moves sideways when it comes to sidling up next to a treat!
We also passed by the Haner's farm. The turkeys were gobbling and the goats were making all kinds of noises. Speedy gave them an interested glance, but he knows his job by now and didn't do much other than flag his tail in salute and blow a bit.
We stopped for some obligatory grazing; Speedy expects it. He knows that trail rides are about relaxing and enjoying our time together. As we continued on past the corner of our property line, we spotted Izzy in Laurel's turn out. When I called to him, he trotted about three steps towards us, but then he froze. He's still too nervous to use the length of the turn out alone. We continued on while he whirled and galloped back toward the barn. Silly boy!
When we finished up, I gave Speedy's eye another check. It looked the same. I am not worried about it as it was just a slight scrape. We're going to the cabin this weekend, so I won't be able to ride until Sunday at the earliest. I am sure it will be all healed up by then. I can't speak to the other guy's condition though. Hopefully Speedy gave as good as he got.
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.
I've gone from lessons once or twice a week to only once a month which is actually two days back to back, and I ride twice each day. So in reality, I am getting four lessons a month, which isn't too bad. Chemaine will be here today and tomorrow, so I am really excited to get out to the barn.
Chemaine always packs so much into the lessons that for the first two weeks, I am busy trying to apply what she taught us. By week three, I am starting to see the gaps in our work, and by week four, I find myself ditching certain exercises knowing that Chemaine will be here soon to help me fix whatever is wrong. I am definitely in the need help category right now.
Lessons aren't a reason to go over-the-top on grooming, but knowing that a few more people will be around at the barn motivated me to take care of some chores that I'd been putting off. Haircuts was at the top of the list.
My barn doesn't have electricity, so I have to walk my clippers and horses over to the neighbor's place to use her plugs. After cleaning up both boys' faces and bridles paths, I realized that Izzy's normally unruly mane was looking particularly ill kept.
I started banding it a month or so ago in an attempt to get it to stay on one side - his is split mostly down the middle. My bands kept popping off though, so operation Train Izzy's Mane wasn't going so well. My young friend Morgan declared my bands to be old and cracked. She grabbed one, stretched it out, and pointed out the white cracks in the rubber. Well that certainly explained a lot.
I went out and bought fresh bands and re-banded Izzy's mane. The bands were doing a good job, but after nearly two weeks, I realized that most of them had finally fallen out or broken, and those that were still there were giving Izzy what looked like bed head. I combed it all out neatly and put fresh bands in.
I am not sure how long it takes to train a mane to lay on one side, or if this is even the correct way to do it, so if anyone has some words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them!