Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ugh, I have a low grade flu or something.
Thankfully my sweetie was willing to drive me out to the barn, so Solly got turn-out today. I sat in the dry-lot pen while he ambled around, and then we practiced "help me up," which honestly I needed help with today. He's a very good boy, and rather intuitive for a horse. He comes over when I call him, puts his head down, lets me get a hold of his mane, and then when I say "help me up" he raises his head. No, I don't lean a bunch of my weight on him. He just helps me balance and makes standing less painful. Also helps when one is dizzy and nauseous, as it happens. We did okay with "kiss me" too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trust.



Despite needing to re-learn some discipline in a few areas, Solomon is a very, very KIND horse. He is a very forgiving horse. And while it would be foolish to entirely trust any being that is not entirely in control of themselves (instincts can and do take over, especially with a prey animal that is wired to flee from danger) I trust him a lot. Up there? He closed his lips around two fingers and drooled on them, but did not bite or threaten to bite.
Every day I show him how I trust him. I pick up his feet and clean them out, though he could easily kill me with a single kick. I walk behind him, though I always let him know that I am there with sound and touch. I brush his massive body that's so tall I can't see the top of his back.
And every day he shows me how he trusts me. He follows me. He lets me touch him. He listens to what I say, and when I am clear and consistent, he obeys me. He lets me lead him by a rope, even though he could easily run off and just drag me along with him. He lets me take him around corners, show him new things, go past big scary cars and even scarier deer. Sometimes he spooks, but always he stops and defers to me. And even when he panicked on Saturday because he was confined, and really REALLY wanted to run free, though he reared he did not strike, though he pranced he did not step on me, and though he bucked, he did not kick, nor did he drag me away. He was overcome, and he begged and screamed, but he did not fight when he couldn't easily flee.
Every day I'm awed by him.

Before I get too sappy, heh, he got turned out (now that he has gotten the ants out of his pants and is nice and calm) next to the old mares. He tried to impress Pica Aloha. Here's the old girl giving her opinion of him:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zomgz an update!

Sorry to keep y'all in suspense.
Solomon and I are okay, some other people are having drama and one party wants to bring us into it I think. It's a complicated situation that I would rather just stay away from to be honest. Don't worry, everyone is safe. There are a lot of good people where we are.

So Solly is doing a lot better! He has now gotten two turn-outs. Okay, his first turn out day wasn't so great, because he had decided he was FED UP with stall rest and was rearing and bucking away. He bit his lip a little, I got a bloody finger, but we survived the incident, he did not get loose and run away, no one else was touched, and he was not actively trying to harm me. A horse whinnied and it set him off, then he wouldn't calm down. But once I put him in the wood-paneled round pen, he worked the ants out of his pants.

Today went a lot better. I made my own stud chain for him, which worked splendidly. He still sticks his nose right into the halter when I hold it up, and does not complain. But he knows he's working when the chain is on. There was a little bit of unplanned halting that we worked through, but otherwise it was okay. I went in the round pen with him this time, and he was nice and relaxed, considering. He still did a little giraffe-necking and a bit of calling, but the first thing he did after sniffing around a bit was roll.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/longroll.jpg

Haha, he always rolls all the way over! Apparently a lot of horses don't do this. they do one side, then the other. Except perhaps Icelandics. The Icey at our barn, who will soon be moving off to Oregon, sadly, rolls onto his back and sticks his legs in the air, then STAYS like that. Heh.

Okay, it's an odd point in his trot, and bear in mind that he's turning a bit, but he's trottig here!
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/trotting.jpg

Yes, he does extend way more. And yes, he was a little stiff on the wounded leg. But it is holding together- no bleeding, no split skin. And I think that he will end up sound. He still has at least two more weeks before he can go out to his pasture, but at least now he can have turn-out! After I took these pictures we did some walking and trotting together- no halter, so he only had to do what he felt up to doing, which was more than my ankles were up to, as it happened. But we did some walking and trotting, and then he went into a big turn-out pen, where we did more walking and trotting.

He has gotten rather herd-bound to me though. If I am out of his sight for a moment he calls for me, and if I leave the pen he's in he charges back and forth until he can see that I'm not leaving him there. I sat on a picnic bench for a while while he wandered around sniffing poo (a favorite activity of his) and then got up to take the apple-picker into the round pen. You would have thought his tail was on fire, he ran to the gate of the turn-out pen so fast. I was worried he'd go through the fence a little, but he's good at charging around and then coming to a dead stop.

Not so good at that when it's slippery and muddy though, which apparently is a bit of a difficult concept for him. Sigh.

Anyway, he's healing really well, and the BO loaned me a book of horse tricks to teach Solly. Right now we're working on "kiss me," which I am positive he will get down very quickly. Next will be "put your head on my shoulder," which he likes to do anyway. Of course I must be consistent and only give him a carrot bit when he does it on COMMAND. Not jsut any time. Heh.

But yes, we're okay, Solly is healing well, and overall life is good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hello all,
I'm sorry, but there's some heavy stuff going on right now, and I might not be around for a little while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lots of pictures today!

Today was a good Solly day.
I found his fly mask! It was lying in the middle of a turn-out pen. Other fly masks were also lying around in there. Strange. But it was in one piece! I guess he got it off before ripping up his eyelid. Oh, Solomon. He got a mention in this month's newsletter at the barn. It said he ran through a fence and hurt himself playing salt-lick hockey. Hah!
So. Pictures.
Solly got fresh dry gravel today! They still have to re-level his paddock, but this will help a lot in the meantime. Yay for the stable-hands. :D
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/newgravel.jpg
Here are Solomon's dirty hoof bottoms. I picked them and swept the paddock and he managed to find more yuck to step in afterwards.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/hoofbottoms.jpg

His rear hooves, which are still not perfect by far, but the angles are a lot more similar than before:
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/rearhooves.jpg
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/rearhooves2.jpg

His front hooves.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/fronthooves.jpg

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/fronthooves2.jpg

His leg wound is unwrapped now. I put more ointment on it after taking this picture. Now it mostly looks like a scrape. The hair that the vet shaved is even growing back!

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/legwoundsuturesout.jpg

Solomon was a very good boy today. He walked with me and kept himself in just the right place beside me. No pulling ahead, no trying to run to the pasture. I didn't have to put any tension on his chain at all except once when we first set out where he stopped for a moment because I'd interrupted his meal and he kind of wanted to go back and eat. But after a moment he perked right up, and once we were out of the barn he was just SO good. Peppermints were had when he got back to his stall.

Here's the view of the forested hills across the road from his barn:
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/hills.jpg

I wanted to share some pictures of Solly's neighbors with you too.

Here are the three ancient mares who live kitty-corner to Solly's paddock:

Pica Aloha, who belongs to the BO. I am not sure what is wrong with her. Something. But she is also just very old.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/neighborpica.jpg

Next is Amber, who recently moved in from the pasture. She was getting really skinny out there, but is now getting better. Solomon HATES Amber for some reason, you should have seen the faces he was making the other day when she was walked past him. Amber is in her 30s.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/neighboramber.jpg

This is Joline. She has Cushings. She's doing pretty well, considering that.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/neighborjoline.jpg

This is Rosie, the other Freisian in our barn. She is kind of convinced that I am evil, currently, because I dropped some dirt near her while she was getting a bath. But she is a very pretty and sweet mare. Not the most flattering photo of her, heh. She is in the barn proper section of Solly's barn. It's $120 more a month for a horse to live in one of the barn stalls, and they do not have pasture access, just turn-out in the turn-out paddocks.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/neighborrosie.jpg

And finally, here is Picasso in one of those turn-out paddocks. He is a warmblood, and for some reason I really really like him. This flymask is not very manly though, now is it?

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/neighborpicasso.jpg

Monday, October 20, 2008

Solomon is 1 inch shorter now!

Last night I had a very strange dream about a paint mare chasing me and biting the hell out of me no matter what I tried to do to fight her off. Which is weird because I like paint mares, and I especially like the paint mare at our barn that looks like the one in my dream. Maybe somebody accidentally switched Solomon's dreams with mine.
Today that paint mare was in turn-out, and she was whinnying up a storm.

Yesterday I found that Solomon's left front was falling apart. I called the farrier, who answered (miracle) and said she could come out the next day at noon (big miracle) and she showed up just like she said (major miracle!!!)

Here is a crappy "before" pic of the jacked up foot:
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/jackedupfoot2.jpg

I like her a lot. She was very careful and attentive. She said his feet were very very thrushy. She ended up taking off at least an inch of hoof and dead frog. "Don't you use the purple stuff again," she said, "it weakens the hoof, which just ends up making more places for the thrush to go. Go to the dollar store and get athlete's foot cream and triple antibiotic, and get the off-brands because they're cheaper and do the same thing. The thrush will be gone in days!"
Solomon's feet are still not perfect of course. It will take a lot of time to really fix them up. She is taking advantage of the fact that he is on stall rest and not being ridden, and is doing a bit more intense of a trim, but hopefully not enough to make him sore. She said that he might be sore for the next day though, because his front right was seriously off-balance, being longer on one side than the other, and it will be a bit of an adjustment. Getting all of his feet on the same diagonal will take time, but progress was made. The bar had broken on his left front. Eek. But it looks good now.
Solomon was antsy during the trimming, but the farrier said he was being a very good boy considering the fact that he was on stall rest. The other day a mare tried to kill her, flat out kill her. She was on stall rest and going nuts because of it. She was rearing and striking like crazy. That's the second horse I've heard of that has attacked because they were on stall rest. Many people have told horror stories of their normally well0behaved horses going nuts because they didn't get to go out and run around at all.
Solly was just bored. He tossed his head for a while, and took his foot away a couple of times, but otherwise was good. Even though I had just given him fly spray, he was covered with flies but did not stomp or even swish his tail. The farrier said that if this was how he acted on stall rest, then I got a great horse. He licked me, and then he licked her ear, heh. She was very patient with him. We found that letting him watch and holting him in hand instead of putting him in the cross-ties made him a lot clamer and easier to deal with. We got some dramatic sighs, and by the time she got to his back feet, he mostly just rested his muzzle on my chest and gave me forlorn looks.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/yhalothar.jpg
After the trim the farrier said he was walking a lot better. Using his heels correctly. She really liked him, and kept saying that he was a pretty horse. After putting him back in his stall I came upon her and another boarder discussing him. They like his conformation, and the farrier said she thought he was certainly bred on purpose. She said he looked like he would make a great hunter/jumper. She and the boarder especially liked his butt. It's a nice, muscly rump. Even when he was skinny as hell, his rump had muscle.
The farrier commented on the fact that he'd been hurt very badly a few times in the past. And how sweet and trusting he was now despite whatever he went through. He is a sweet boy. Even though he DID nose me in the boob again today right before I left. Heh.
He got a brand new lead rope today. He broke his old one way back at the old barn because I went around the corner with a bucket of grain and he did not approve of this, oh no. I'd been just tying the rope in a knot around the bull snap, which of course isn't terribly safe, so today he got a bright red one to match his bright red halter. I like it better- it has a nice swen-on bit under the snap that holds it together much more securely than a piece of metal, and the end is finished as well.
The BO was not there today, so the lady who does turn-outs and stuff was doing things instead. She caught me taking a wheelbarrow towards a pile of dirt and gravel. Asked me what I was doing. Uhm, getting something to fill in the pee-puddle in Solly's paddock. Boy did I get snapped at! Stupid PMS making me want to cry. That lady isn't really mean I'm sure, she's just blunt, and I'm too sensitive. Heh. But she was right, the dirt part would jsut make more mud. I'm just frustrated with not being able to control that, and iwth the fact that Solly always has filthy feet right now that get thrushy. Heh.
But then on the way back to my car, my facorite stable-hand stopped me. I'd told him the other day that Solomon's paddock needed something done in the back because it was just staying muddy and his feet were suffering. He told me today that there was a guy re-rocking everything, and he had to finish 4 more paddocks in the fancy barn area, but then after that Solomon's was on the top of the list. Oh good. That will help a lot. They re-rock every year before winter. Usually the paddocks getting muddy in the back aren't that big of an issue because this time of the year most of the horses are out at pasture 24-7. But soon his gravel area will be a lot drier.
So. On top of getting the neosporin/creme thrush treatment, which someone else also told me was the most amazing thing they'd found, (I still haven't found the cow-creme someone suggested at any local tack place,) the farrier suggested soaking Sol's feet in a 2% lysol/98% water solution. Since he'll let me soak him, why not? She says it really helps also, and doesn't kill the feet like bleach does. Much gentler.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/trimmedhooves.jpg
As you can see, he immediately went into the mud as soon as I put him back in his stall. Hence my running around with a wheelbarrow. But they look much better, yes? It will still take time, but it's a big start. You should have seen all the stuff she cut off of him! I wanted to get an after pic of the underside, but it was already muddy again. Buh. I hope that re-rocking happens REALLY soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good day with the vet

Today the other vet came out to see Solomon. It was vaccination day, but as it turns out he got EVERYTHING in August, so the vet said to just wait until March. Good news for the savings account. No charge for taking out the sutures. :D
Solomon was SUCH a good boy for the vet. He stood nice and still while the vet pulled out his eye and leg sutures. He was very gentle. The vet showed me the black spot on his thumbnail where Solly bit him this summer- it's slowly growing out. Thankfully Solomon was in a very good mood today.
The wounds look so amazingly good. Sorry I didn't get a picture today. But they have improved a lot just since the other day. Solomon is to wear a leg bandage for another 3 or 4 days, and then it can come off... though I think I'll re-bandage lightly when we do supervised turn-out.
The supervised turn-out can't happen for another week. Going back to pasture is three weeks from now at least. Arrrgh. My horse is going to go insane.
I asked the vet about his front leg, to see if he thought he should get an ultrasound, and the vet picked his other front leg up. Solomon didn't struggle or flinch or anything. Heh. The vet said "let's not be premature, let's get him healed from this injury first."
After the vet left, one of the guys filled in the puddle in the back of Solomon's paddock, so I decided to soak and scrub his feet. I filled a grain pan with water and a bit of soap and thought, well, I can only try, right?
So I slid the pan next to Solly's foot and picked it, then slid the pan under his foot and told him to put it down. He did! On the first one he tried to pull his foot out after a moment, but I just told him "no" and "stand" and he stood still for it. I got the first three feet really well scrubbed, but by the 4th one he decided he was SO done. Heh. Well, they are a lot cleaner than they were anyway. The yellow hoof is now yellow again, though he has probably gotten it muddy again since I left.
So after his hooves got scrubbed we took a walk. Wow, he was an angel. NO misbehavior the entire time. I was really amazed. Maybe there's something to this "going out in the morning" thing...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Solomon REALLY needs to get turn out soon. Tomorrow I hope the sutures will come out, and I hope he'll be allowed to at least have supervised turn-out.
He has one wall in his pipe paddock, one wooden one I mean. It has pipes too, but he has been kicking the hell out of that wall. There are marks that go as high as the top of my head. Apparently he's been trying to break through out of frustration.
We walked the furthest ever since the injury today. A deer spooked in front of us, and Solly spooked, but was mostly okay. Tried to pull ahead a lot, and once or twice started walking again after a whoa, but he wasn't unmanageable. Without the stud chain it might have been another story, I don't know.
I found out that some horses on stall rest just get violent. One of the other boarders was telling her friend that her horse tried to kick her with both back feet when he was on stall rest. They go nuts if they are used to freedom.
He's been stuck in a pen for two weeks now, and while he's still a kind horse, he is also a very bored horse. The BO thinks that he would be a great horse for learning to do little tricks, heh. Well sure, why not? He's smart and people oriented and very very food motivated.
He smacked me in the boob today. Another thing he hadn't done in months. was reprimanded but probably not firmly enough. I couldn't help laughing. He did it right in front of my friend. Her eyes got really big, haha. I mean he smacked me in the chin with my own breast.
Sigh.
So yeah tomorrow I'll ask the vet when I can turn him out and when he can go back to his beloved herd and pasture. And I'll see about getting his leg x-rayed. He didn't struggle at all when his hooves were picked. But he does it often enough. I just want to be sure.
he got a massage from my friend. He got some grain, and a walk, hoof picking and extra brushing. His toy on it's rope is hanging a lot lower than it was. I guess he has been playing with it, or someone has!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pictures!

Solomon making his peppermint face:
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/peppermintsmall.jpg

And also:

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/eyehealing.jpg
Solomon's eye is healing well.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/toy.jpg
He gave me a "mom are you crazy?" look and sniffed me while I was tying his toy to a new part of his stall today, but did not knock me down.

Today he was a very good boy on the way out, and pretty good the whole way back. When we got to the orchard going out, I gave him the o.k. to eat a couple of apples off the ground because he was behaving so well. Yay!

When I picked his feet, we had a struggle with his front right again. I think I'm going to ask the vet to check it out on Saturday when he gets his medications. While I was cleaning it, once he settled down, he took the opportunity to rub his head on my butt. BAD HOSS! Heh, I am amazed that nobody walked by, I'm sure it looked hilarious.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Healing healing healing.

Today Solomon stood nice and still while I changed his wrappings and cleaned his leg. Such a good boy! I took pics of the wound and e-mailed them to the vet just to make sure it was still healing well.
He stuck his nose in the halter today just as eagerly as ever, and was pretty good on the lead line. He was also very affectionate today, in a non-pushy way. Lots of nickering and gentle with-permission snuggling. I felt guilty leaving this afternoon, he was making such a kind lovey face, and craning his neck around out of his stall to watch me go.
Here's the leg.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/legwound1014.jpg

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stud chain time.

Yeh, Solomon dragged me yesterday. He was getting more and more unruly, upset that he can't go out to his pasture. It was getting to the point where he was being dangerous.
Mr. Solomon, meet Mr. Stud Chain.
Now, I'm not big on gadgets generally speaking. But Solly needs to be walked and he needs to be SAFE to be walked, and while he's a well-behaved and kind horse under normal circumstances, it seems that "usually" does not apply when he's going stir-crazy.
But, as it happens, Solomon seems to already have more an a passing acquaintance with Mr. Stud Chain. "Oh," said Solomon, "I guess it is time to work now." He jerked his head once or twice towards the pasture, but didn't after that. I used soft hands and let him sort of self-correct: if he tried to go faster than I was going, he got pressure. If he tried to go someplace I wasn't going, he got pressure. As soon as he got back in line, no more pressure. It is a tool that does not have to be at all cruel if handled properly. And he actually took well to it pretty quickly. When it was being put on he swished his tail a lot, but once we were walking and he believed that I was serious he gave to it readily. No whimpering or anything, he just understood that it was "pay attention and behave" time. I have been, it has been pointed out to me, not firm enough. And it is important with horses to be firm, but fair. Not cruel or angry, but with strong, sturdy boundaries and firmly established as the alpha. So. So far, so good. And we shouldn't have to use it for long.
He is healing very well still. Walking well, almost back to normal. He might get his sutures out on the 18th, we'll see if he's ready. He's getting his fall vaccinations. The man gets to buy the groceries for a while.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Om nom nom nom.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/haytoss.jpg

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/funnymouf.jpg

I am a little worried that he may be losing weight. Going to call the vet tomorrow and ask about switching his morning feed back to alfalfa. Some horses, apparently, lose weight on stall rest. He has been pacing and weaving a lot. Also he dragged me a little ways when I hand-walked him today, and even pranced a bit. I hope he doesn't get any more unmanageable while he's stuck in his paddock.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It has been a week now.

First off, thank you so very very much imaginethewolf, for the ride and all the help you gave us at the barn tonight. You rock! <3
Thanks to her, Solly got a freshly cleaned barrel of water today. His water had gotten stinky and I hadn't managed to catch the stablehands to ask them to change it. She did an amazing job. I helped a bit, couldn't do as much as I wanted, but he has clean water now. He was so excited that he kept sticking his nose in as we were filling it up, and getting sprayed. Heh.
She also did the stall cleaning tonight. Yay clean stall. :D And clean salt block- it had gotten dirty as well.
I changed his leg bandage. The wound is still draining, but what's coming out looks pretty healthy. Still no swelling. It hasn't sealed as much as I'd like, but maybe it's better that it continues to drain for now. It's draining out the very bottom of the wound.
Solomon was a very good boy for his bandage changing. Heh, no sedation required. I think he took one step, and I don't think I was even wrapping at the time. He put up with me pouring a whole bottle of water over his leg too, and he hates getting wet. The bandage wrapping was easier than I thought it would be. I might've not done quite as perfect of a job as the vet, but it was all flat and smooth and I put in all the layers of stuff, and it seems to be staying in place, so yay!
We went for a walk, and it went the way it goes every time. I got some really dramatic sighs and a bit of whining heading back, but he only resisted for a short while. A whining horse is pretty pathetic though. Poor guy. I know, you miss your herd and you get lonely.
Hoof picking went well, but I learned to not do it in low light- flung some hoof-gunk debris right up my nose. I could have lived without that experience, to be honest.
Am looking into shavings. The stalls in this barn have shavings, but most of the paddocks do not, save a couple with really really old mares who have some foot issues. It'd be nice though. I e-mailed the BO, so we'll see what she says.
I kinda want to get Solomon a hanging jollyball. Not sure if he'd play with it, but he sure does get bored in there, and the jug-with-rocks doesn't seem to be a huge hit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You take one down, pass it around, 99 tubes full of bute on the wall!

So today Solly was mostly a good boy. He even ate his bute powder on his senior feed without any drama. I keep finding more nicks on him- I think some are new, from him trying to knock down his paddock walls. Removed another driveway worth of cravel from his feet. Snuck in some extra dirt and put it on top of the mud. Swept out his stall. Curried a sweater worth of hair off him. Ointment in all the appropriate places. Fed him his meds, mixed up his meds for the morning. Gave him head skirtches. Chatted with horse people.
I took him out for a hand-walk again today. He was an angel going out. Stopped immeidately when I stopped, didn't even have to say whoa. He was really watchign me carefully.
HOWEVER
When I turned us around instead of going to the pasture, he was NOT a happy camper. He even bumped into me. I ended up holding the lead rope up over my head and letting him go in circles around me every time he tried to turn around to go to his pasture. He could see his herd. I'd take him a different direction but it's really the only way to go, sicne his paddock as at the very end of the property. I was telling him that we were going back to the paddock whether he wanted it or not. Heh. Halfway back tot he barn he gave up and was a good boy again. He misses his herd and his freedom. Don't worry old guy, you'll go back in a couple of weeks.
It's almost been a week already. Crazy. Tomorrow he'll get his leg re-wrapped. It'll be my first time doing it myself. I think I can do it just fine. Lots of people willing to help if not.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Feet? What feet?

Wellll Solomon's feet are mushy again. That didn't take long. He has three rows of mats but the back of his paddock is gravel and dirt, which is now mud because he uses it as a litterbox.
On the one hand, it's easier to get stuff out from the tight spot at the backs of his feet.
On the other hand, everything is mushy and parts of his hoof are turning into white crumbly powder. AGAIN.
I removed an entire driveway worth of gravel and pee-mud from his feet today, and then medicated them. I am going to try something new next week though. Half triple antibiotic ointment, half athlete's foot medicine. A farrier gave me the tip, she said it works better than anything else she has tried. Won't hurt to try it anyway.
In the pasture his feet are very hard and dry. He still gets crap in them, but at least they are dry.
In a stall, they fall to pieces.
I think he also needs a trim again though. But that will have to wait until his leg is a little better. I met the local up and coming hotshot barefoot farrier. The feet of the horses she does look good, but she insists on trimming every 4 weeks, which I'm not sure I can really afford. But maybe I can get her to do 6 weeks. Sol's feet grow pretty slowly. She does do good work. I did like the other farrier but he didn't do much to correct them, just prettied them up. She took a closer look and had a lot more to say about each hoof. She said that he had a club foot,a nd another was underrun, and that the toe was too long in another. And that one of his front ones had uneven growth. Not sure about a club foot, don't know a lot about those, but I could see what she meant about the rest, totally. A lot of it is stuff the BO pointed out.
So maybe we'll give it a try.
Today Solomon did not eat much of his bute. Tried to paste him first. Even tried blindfolding him. He didn't panic at all about being blindfolded, but as soon as he felt the tube touch his lips he was tossing his head violently again. Buh. Have to do the applesauce in a tube thing.
Otherwise, he still looks to be healing well.
We went for a little hand-walk. He was not well-behaved. But we did it. And he didn't get to run up the road to the pasture, much as he wanted to. He did get me pretty good with that long, luxurious (mostly) white tail of his though. Heh, stingy! He also bared his teeth when I didn't let him drag me up to his pasture. Heh. People walked past as I was saying "oh yeah go right ahead, if you bite me I WILL bite you back, mister!" Of course he didn't though, it was all show. He just hates living in a box.
Wounds are still healing well.
Solomon got fly spray today. It was a new kind, rather strong, borrowed from one of the volunteers who spends time with the old old mares back in our paddock section. Solomon did not like it, and tried to get away from it. First time I've seem him seriously try to evade a spray. No flies on him after that though!
A friend from the old barn came by- thought he looked great, despite the scrapes and sutures!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Healing!

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/legwound3healing.jpg
The vet took a look at Solomon today, and was very pleased!
She said that his leg was looking good- no swelling, no infection, and it was draining properly. She said it was starting to heal from the inside out. I am to change the leg wrapping every 3 or 4 days, bute him for another two (two grams once a day, as per her instructions) and to be sure to continue to give him his antibiotics for the next 10 or so days.
To change his leg wrapping, I am to do the following:

* Clean his leg with bottled water. Betadine solution would make it harder for his flesh to heal after the initial cleaning of the wound, so clean fresh water it is.
* Use triple-antibiotic ointment liberally on the wound.
* Apply a non-stick pad.
* On top of that, stack some 4 X 4 pads.
* Around that, wrap his leg with the beige wrap that sticks to his hair.
* Around THAT, wrap some padding, being sure to make as few wrinkles as possible.
* Around that, wrap either vetrap or the cloth bandages with Velcro that one of the folks at the barn gave to me.

She said his eye was healing very well, and that I was doing a good job with him. Yay. :)
So today I drowned his bute in honey to get him to eat it. He almost hit his head HARD when I tried to paste him with the bute, even with a shoulder-roll. Even with a shoulder-roll and a bit of sedation still in him from the vet checkup. I just can't move fast enough yet I guess. Couldn't even do it with help from another boarder, he just freaks out more and more. We will be doing the applesauce thing when he's feeling better, oh yes we will.
But for now he gets it in honey on senior feed.
He's well enough to feel bored to tears in there, still pressing on the bars, still trying to smack me around with his head, though today I didn't let him get away with it. It's like he has slipped back a few months. Argh. Well we will work through it. He's drugged and in pain and feeling trapped. He'll get better. He is happy to see me and calls to me when I leave for the day.
Hook picking was done. Grooming was done. Pointment was done. Hand-walking was done, just a little bit, like the vet said. His toy has changed orientation so I think maybe he did play with it a little bit while I was gone, not sure though.
I asked about the turkeys, as a friend was concerned about diseases. The vet said they aren't a problem- they hang out with her horses too. Out in the pasture the horse herd and the turkey flock stick together, depending on each other to spot danger. West nile vaccine is administered to the horses. Too bad there doesn't seem to be a vaccine for humans for that! But yeah, the turkeys shouldn't be a health risk. Hell, he had chickens living in his stall with him in the old place, chickens running loose all over, and roosting on his back. But I did ask, and around here they are fine. Can't really keep them away either. I don't think it's even legal to shoot them most of the year, and there isn't s afe direction to shoot them from anyway, not in the area the barn is in.
I'm more worried about ticks actually, which apparently come out in force here when it cools off. My gods I hate ticks. Lymes is a problem out here. I'm going to have to pick them off him when he's back out in pasture again. I talked to the vet about that too. She agreed that he'll just be way healthier overall if he gets to go back out there once he is better. Maybe he won't hurt himself again. Usually they seem to when they are new to a pasture, still. Maybe he'll be more careful around the fences now. Gods I hope so.
The vet felt that he's too old to get hobble trained. She said it would be very hard to do with him, at his age. Especially since he has gotten hurt a few times- he'd be likely to just panic. Damn. Well I guess I'll just have to hope for the best on that front.
I swept his stall mats before I left. Much easier for me to do than attempting to clean out his old stall was. They clean it every day. I clean it in the afternoon or evening before I leave, so he has something of a comfy place to lie down, though he probably gets it messy again before he goes to sleep. Still, less rocks is less rocks.
I called a friend up who wanted me to come north and visit her at her farm. She's taking care of everything all alone for a couple of weeks. I can't do much in the way of physical labor but I could have kept her company and helped her catch the sheep and the cow. Animals are pretty calm around me. But I can't do that now of course. I have a hurt baby to take care of. She understands. Too bad though, I really wanted to meet the milk cow.
Solomon stepped on my foot today. For some reason the sedatives makes horses randomly decide to walk forward. He walked forward and then stood on my foot. I'm glad he still responds to "back." When I got home the cat jumped from my dresser right onto the foot Solly stepped on. It was the 20 pound cat of course. Hah, I had to laugh. Laugh and cuss a little.
But overall today was good. Hard work, but good news.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another day.

Today we borrowed some powdered bute, which I mixed with a bunch of honey and some senior feed. He ate it. Thank goodness.
I managed to pick out his feet a bit, though not completely. He wasn't big on holding any of them up for very long, but I got out the rocks and mud. There are rocks and mud in the back of his paddock so he'll probably have more in his feet tomorrow.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/barmarks.jpg
He is trying to push down his paddock bars. He puts most of his weight on them and just SHOVES. It doesn't look like he's itching himself either, it really seems like he's trying to push them down so he can get out. Argh.
We took a little walk, and he wanted to go way faster than I would let him. He took his antibiotics. He got brushed. He got fed. He got petted and ointmented. His leg does not appear to be swelling up. I think maybe he'll be okay.

This might be especially amusing to you non-Americans out there-
This is what ambled up to me while I sat with Solomon today.

Yes, they really are huge. Huge huge HUGE!
And not very good at the whole "survival instinct" thing either, truth be told. But they're awfully pretty if you don't mind their bald blue and red heads. Iridescent green and iridescent violet/red, as well as some stripes!


There was a point where I looked over and saw turkeys, ravens, and deer all at the same time. I love it out at the barn. Just wish Solly was all healed up and free again.

Our last ride... (for now at least)

Okay.
This was taken a couple of days before Solomon went through the fence. It might be our last ride ever. It might be our last ride for a while. It's with the new saddle.
I'll warn you that my equitation still really sucks. My hands are still really high and I don't know how to get the stubby things down past my boobs. My arms are short compared to my midriff too. And I keep the reins TOO loose most of the time, somehow they always keep getting looser. But I was working on that. :p My feet also don't really properly reach the stirrups- I have to add some holes. Heh. Not a supermodel and the clothing and pics aren't too flattering for me, oh well!
Anyway, here's a pic of us standing together. He chomps at the bit when he isn't being asked to do anything. It's the french link snaffle that BigDreams sent us.
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Here we are outside of the arena. There was a SCARY TRUCK driving past!
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And finally, a video. I know I suck still, heh. And I was doing two-handed crossing over the neck reining 'cos that's what my instructor told me to do last time. Every time I ride someone tells me to do something different with the reins. Luckily Solly has been very patient with that lately. I don't know what's going to happen ridingwise in the future though. Guh I will not cry.
Might take it a moment to process.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blargh.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/shuuuuuun.jpg
I hate seeing him like this.
When I got there he was weaving. I've never seen him do that before.
Weaving and miserable. He paces around the paddock, leaning against the pipe panels, testing them. He wants out. He wants his pasture. He wants his herd. He's in pain and he doesn't understand why I try to make him eat nasty-flavored things.
I got maybe half of his bute in him.I tried hiding it in a carrot, which he spat out into his grain pan. I mixed the carrot with peppermint and senior feed. He tasted it, and got mad, and dragged the grain pan around, and shoved it with his nose, and stomped on the ground and complained. I took the pan out of his stall, and he stuck his head and neck through the paddock bars and nickered at me until I put it back in. Then he dragged it around some more.
A boarder gave me some applesauce, which I added in. He nosed at it and then snorted and complained. Eventually he got bored enough to eat about half of it, bite by bite.
I mixed it bare-handed. Had cuts on my knuckles that I didn't notice until later. Felt weird, slightly stoned and sleepy. Oops.
The ointment turned out to not be a problem. I put his halter on him and he held still while I rubbed it on with my finger. Hands aren't a problem around his face. Objects are.
I walked over to the place where he broke through the fence. There were some skid marks in the mud. I think he really did slip. Didn't see it so I can't be sure. Sigh. Solomon was thinking he was a 2 year old again I think, out there in the rainstorm. And now he can't be with his herd and he can't run around.
I took him out and walked him just to the end of his barn and back. He tried to drag me around and steal food. I was just patient with him, made him go slow. He was losing his mind and a little walking is okay. It's less than the walk to where he got stitched up and back was, and he walks in circles in his paddock anyway. It did seem to help, though he didn't want to go back into his paddock.
I managed to pick his back feet a little bit. Of course he walked in a pile of poop right afterwards. Ah well. When he stood and cocked one foot I'd sneak in with the pick. He let me do it though, didn't complain. He actually cocks the non-injured leg as much as the injured one, which is a good sign I think.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/cocked.jpg
He tried to steal my book a couple of times. Stuck his head over the rails a lot, and held stock still for throatlatch rubs, which he seems to really enjoy. He also got brushed.
I feel like I should make a toy for him. Maybe a hanging milk jug with some rocks in it. Something to occupy his mind. He's so bored.
I'm making friends with the guys who work at the barn. Very sweet people. We're working past the language barrier. When I investigated the pasture, I ended up getting a ride back to the barn on the feed cart. Wow, it's a much faster trip, heh.
The birds are used to me, too. I looked up from my book to find myself surrounded by wild turkeys, crows, and a couple of ravens. A bunch of the turkeys were drinking water. Then bend over and their tails fan in the air. They're rather cute.
After I mixed up his morning meds for the barn owner, I started to leave. Found that I didn't have my keys. Went back to the stall to find the three big tom turkeys pecking at them. D'oh.
Everyone at the barn has been very kind, very supportive. On the way up the drive to Sol's barn I saw a boarder along the side of the rode and slowed way down. Realized what I was doing and told her "heh, I just caught myself slowing down so I wouldn't spook you." She laughed and patted my arm.
Solomon is already rubbing his eyelid on the bars. Argh. I'll just have to clean it and ointment it often. But I think... I think he's going to be okay. I'll make it happen, somehow. And he's a tough old guy who has a good life now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Solomon went through a fence last night. :( Warning, graphic photos.

Actually I think he slipped through it rather than ran through it, since it was on the side of a rather steep hill.
(And yeah, I actually do want to hobble train him, though I don't think it would have saved him last night. See muddy slippery hillside.)
So this is what happened. Last night there was a rain storm. Apparently horses go a little nuts when the seasons change, and this was the first storm of Autumn. Apparently they were charging around in the middle of the night, and went through the fence. 90 acres of pasture, and they had to go running on the steepest hillside in the mud. Solomon was the trailblazer I guess, because the T-post was bent and kind of unearthed. He doesn't usually hang out along the fence, even. He's not shown any indication that he would do something like this, so I really think he slipped, but I wasn't there of course.

So they found him first thing in the morning and called me. He was really muddy not not really limping so they thought he'd just scraped himself. I rushed out there to check him out. Another boarder helped me clean the wound and gave me a dose of bute to give to him, which he thankfully ate, and we found that his back leg was pretty bad, and he had a cut on his eyelid, so I called the vet out.

His leg was cut to the bone.
image
She was worried that she wouldn't be able to suture it together, but she wrapped it tightly after cleaning it out, and when she unwrapped it the skin was a little more closed and she was able to stitch it up. His eyelid also had to be stitched. He only JUST missed his actual eye. The vet had to sedate him heavily to sew him up, and he kept threatening to fall over, but thankfully we were able to keep him on his feet.
image
The leg is wrapped, and starting Tuesday will get re-wrapped every day or so. He's taking 15 antibiotic pills twice a day, 2 grams of bute, the eyelid is getting a special ointment, and the wound is getting triple antibiotic neosporin. I spent all day with him today and will probably end up pretty much living at the barn for the next few weeks. I'll do what I can to keep everything clean and dry, though his paddock is only half-covered and I can only hope that he'll stay out of the rain. :/
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He looks really bad in this picture. He's all drugged up.
He was doing so well, too. He has become very very mindful on a lead rope, never trying to eat things off the ground, stopping and backing, walking and trotting, everything was going well, and he was also doing almost as well without a lead rope at all. If he is off a lead rope and we walk past a flake of alfalfa, he'll look at it and I'll say "no" and he'll turn away and keep on walking. Doesn't even break stride.
I bought a saddle two days ago. Finally found one that fit properly- extra wide tree and high gullet. It was a sadddle designed for a TWH. That last photo up there is weird, because his withers are actually normally much higher than his rump. He was getting good under saddle too. I rode him down the road, outside of an arena a couple of days ago. He stopped immediately almost every time, which is something he'd not been doing for anyone. He had learned to back under saddle. We were working on lateral movement and pivots. He was starting to get muscle, and he was really doing well.
Now I'm scared he'll get an invection despite the antibiotics, I'm scared he'll not end up sound after this (I'll still keep him, riding is not the most important thing for me, he's my horse dammitt) and I'm scared he'll go nuts being stuck in his paddock and hurt himself again. He's going to miss his herd and he's going to miss the hell out of being able to run around. The vet was hopeful but wasn't really sure if he'd heal up all the way. It's a wait and see sort of thing. My vet is really good and so is her assistant, and they told me to call if I noticed any changes or had any questions.
The bute will be an adventure. The assistant gave him the second dose, in a paste form, and came back with bute in her hair and on her face and hands, heh. Solomon doesn't like pastes. But she got him dosed. I'm going to try to feed it through some senior feed.
To get him to take his antibiotics, I dissolved them in warm water, dissolved some peppermints in the water, and mixed it all up in a scoop of senior feed. I switched him to all grass hay instead of alfalfa in the morning and grass in the evening, since he's going to get a fair amount of sugar and calories from his senior feed, and he isn't going to be running around the pasture all day. He actually isn't delicate when it comes to feed changes, thank goodness. It was always something random and different at the old place. Here it's the best quality stuff and very regular. But I don't want him climbing the walls any more than he already will be.
Argh, I'm worried that his feet will get really thrushy again too. I don't think I can really pick out the hoof on the injured leg. There are a lot of lacerations and I don't think he's going to willingly pick it up. Maybe I can soak his feet in a solution once in a while though.
Poor baby. He's been whimpering all day.

So does anyone have any tips for getting ointment on the eyelid of a horse that is kind of headshy? I am thinking I might actually have to use a twitch, which sucks, but he needs to get that ointment on him. I have an equine veterinary medicine book that shows how to do it, but I'll have someone show me in person as well. I think I should be able to feed through the antibiotics and bute, and he doesn't have a kicking problem, thank goodness. If I'm working on a wound on him and I tell him to stand, he'll stand. His paddock is kept very clean. The guys who work at the barn are very meticulous, and I sweep his stall mats in the afternoon as well. the uncovered section has already become a bit muddy. I don't think he'll be lying down there though, he'll probably lie down on the mats. I hope.

Anyway, other than his new injuries, Solomon has been doing really well. I haven't posted on this side for quite a while. He'll heal, with luck, and be okay. The place he's at has one of the best reputations in the bay area. The vets LOVE it. The horses are healthy and happy. The boarders are happy (a miracle, especially since there are a lot of them) and we watch out for each other andeach other's horses. The BO is awesome, a cowgirl from a ranching family that has been in the area for generations. She grows flowers and packs heat, she takes good care fo the horses, as does her staff, and she doesn't let anyone mess around. Solomon has been really happy and healthy and obedient here. Also, nobody shanks my horse.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ridin' ridin' ridin'

Oh man was yesterday busy!
Solomon got a bath, and Solomon got ridden, all in the same day. It was a very big day for him.
I rode him (with a friend walking alongside us, but with me holding the reins and all that) from one end of the property to the other! No spooking, no jumping, and no trying to run away with me this time, though he DID gaze at the pasture longingly as we rode past it... so much so that we actually went sort of diagonally down the road at that bit. What do they call that, lateral movement? Heh. Silly hoss. We'll work on that. But for now I am grateful because most of the time I rode him he actually STOPPED IMMEDIATELY when asked, amazing!
My friend asked him to canter after we switched off, and he did a tiny little crow hop. First time I have ever seen him do any such thing. He refused to canter and was really upset after that. Okay Solly, we don't have to run.
I've been thinking about it, and I think the saddle slipped back at some point during the ride, maybe when he gave that little buck. Hrm. I really really hope it does fit as well as it looks like it fits, because the people I bought it from won't take it back. Lame. I can't afford another saddle so it's this or bareback, unless I can manage to sell it. But I think perhaps I just need to learn to tack him up a little better. :)
Anyway, it really does, overall, feel like a switch has been flipped, and he has decided that maybe he doesn't mind being ridden after all.

Baths, though, are still Pure Evil.