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.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The cost of Solomon's care, broken down.

The other day I spent a good while at the ranch, discussing a lot of things with Bo and A___.

One of these things was of course Solomon's health. Bo is confident that Solly will gain weight with the extra feed, and that he is a long way off from euthanasia.

Sol seemed to agree.

Today thanks to people who love Sol, I was able to bring up two bags of LMF Senior, a bottle of fly spray (his ankles were bloody from fly bites) and a tube of ivermectin. I portioned out 14 days worth of senior feed in baggies for Bo and DeDe to put in a feed pan for Sol every day. There was a bit left over in the bag, so I am guessing that each sack of feed contains about 2.5 weeks worth of feed.

Solomon was all a-nicker upon seeing me, and very happy that I was up for a visit. I fed him his pan, picked his feet, brushed him, gave him a bit of a massage, and fly sprayed him. He doesn't like getting fly sprayed but they were so bad that he stood stock still for me out in the pasture, even letting me rub some on his face without complaint.

When all of that was done, and I'd put him back, he didn't wander off or even go to get his drink of water. Instead he stuck to me like glue. He pressed his shoulder very gently against me and then tried to bed his body around me like a giant grey U. He isn't that bendy, but boy did he ever try! That's my boy. After a while he moved a bit and leaned his hip against me.

Actually, he barely leans against me. It's more to brace himself than anything. He's gotten used to me leaning against him, I think, and he was saying "go ahead mom, let's cuddle." I gave him tail-skritches, which make him lift his tail like a cat.

I see companionable horses do it in the pasture sometimes too. In the bad fly months, they'll stand nose to butt, flicking flies off each other's faces with their tails. He USUALLY doesn't flick me in the face with his tail though. Thank goodness.

I should probably lay out the costs for caring for a Sol-Sol. So you know what is what, eh?

Board: $350. Yes, this is very cheap for the area. Horse Hell was $300, and Hossmoor was $460. D&D Ranch is better than either of those, by far, for the horses especially. I know that he will be cared for, watched over, fed, brought in in a storm, have fresh water, and safe pasture conditions.

Given a feed pan every day: $30 a month. $1 a day, for going and making a feed pan for him, catching him (read: making sure he waits to be haltered before coming out the gate) feeding him, and putting him back. Actually a good deal for the work that is done.

LMF Senior Feed: $35 a month.

Barefoot trim: $45 a month. I was having shoes put on him, which I think was $120 or $130... it was $90 for just the fronts. He was more comfortable in shoes but I just couldn't afford it any more. He's doing okay barefoot, and his feet are staying a lot cleaner. I know he'd be less ouchy in shoes, but still, he's okay.

So that's every month.

Every two months:

Wormer: $7 or so That's the price at the race track. I could get it a lot cheaper online, except that I'd have to pay shipping.

Every year:

vaccines: I think about $35 or $45, was it? I save a lot by giving them to him myself.

Tooth float: $110. Down in Martinez it was more like $300+. Just insane. The dentist that goes to the ranch is very kind to the horses, he is the one who took care to actually gauge Solomon's age, and he didn't charge extra for an extra shot of sedation. The other two times I had his teeth floated, they gave him three and charged me a lot for each one.

As needed:

Fly Spray: About $15 I usually go through two or three bottles of this a year.

ForCo Probiotics: $44.99 It cost way more than this at the English tack and feed store where I found it. http://www.forcocolorado.com/horse_supplements.htm But one can, it appears, buy directly from the supplier! Some people don't believe in probiotics, but Solomon gets the runs without it. With it, he does not get the runs. For me, with the feed plan that is available to him at this time, the proof is in the pudding. Or rather, the lack of poop caked in his tail.

SandClear: $15.95 Solomon lives in a place with sandy soil, and sand can build up in the digestice tract, causing impactions. These impactions can lead to colic and death. Sand colic is very serious and the surgery to TRY to save a horse from it is way way WAY beyond what I can afford. It's not a promising success rate, either. So, every month or two I give him Sand Clear for a while. http://www.horse.com/item/farnam-sandclear/SLT121088/ if you're curious.

Mane 'n' Tail Shampoo and Conditioner: $12 or so for the both- I wait until it is on sale at the grocery store.

Betadine scrub: $17.99 at Walgreen's. I suspect that I could get this a lot cheaper from an online horse supplier. I bought the bottle I have now a year and a half ago. It's almost out. Lasts a long time. Used for cuts, scratches, and baths. Bathing a horse with betadine scrub takes care of a lot of little critters and unwelcome life forms on their skin. It also happens to make a grey horse all sparkly and white. For about 10 minutes. Then he rolls in the nastiest substances he can find, being sure to grind it into his mane.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment:$1 I love the Dollar Store. Used on cuts and the sores he gets on his belly in front of his sheath during fly season, poor baby. D:

Carrots, peppermints, watermelons, apples, & etc I don't keep track really. A sack of peppermints lasts a really long time, and usually friends of Sol going up with me to visit buy him something. Sometimes I grab him a 50 cent apple at Trader Joe's. He loves Galas and Fijis the most.

Vet Bills: all of my savings. I thought I had enough for emergency vet visits, but that was before he lived in what I'll now admit to myself was the 90 acre pasture of chaotic doom. Running through that fence set me back an insane amount. Numerous other injuries from fighting over his favorite filly with giant warmbloods half his age and climbing piles of debris with rebar in them did the rest. No, when we moved there the debris was not getting dumped in the pasture. That started happening after we'd settled in, and I was assured that they never got hurt on it. Strangely enough, Solomon has not been injured since I moved him to D&D Ranch. A couple of kick and bite scrapes, but nothing serious. Nothing that required anything other than some neosporin. I'm hoping it stays that way, but of course there is no guarantee there. Luckily, thank the gods, if the worst happens I have an offer of a loan from a friend to have him put down humanely.

What Solomon needs:

A waterproof winter blanket. I do have a non-waterproof winter blanket, and since Bo and DeDe bring the horses in when it gets stormy, Bo has told me that this will be better than nothing, and work okay. Waterproof would be a lot better though. Something like this http://www.horse.com/item/saxon-1200-denier-m-w-turnout/SLT722758/ would work.

banamine: $30 or so. Medication used in case of colic. An older horse gets a more delicate digestive system, and this drug has saved many lives. http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=78DB03F7-1971-449E-B815-5F7182E048EA&item=134RX&ccd=IFF003&utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=free&utm_content=134RX

An Emergency Vet Fund What I had, until all the cuts and gashes at Hossmoor. :/ It was $950 for a palpitation and euthanization shot for Lilly, on an emergency vet call. This is incredibly overwhelming. I thought I was prepared because I had more than that, in the beginning, in savings for him. All used up. I don't know what to do about that.

Gas money: $18 a trip, roughly. Solomon needs muscle to keep supporting his messed up back. He needs to be worked to stay healthy. He needs to be groomed. He should be worked 3 or 4 times a week via roundpenning and being taken for walks. Currently I go up as often as I can, which is usually when I can hitch a ride with Sensei. It's at least an hour and a half each way, plus a $5 bridge toll. I am very lucky to have such good friends, or I would not be able to get up to see him. At all.

If anyone has a child or loved one who wants horse, I highly encourage that! But be prepared, be more prepared than I was, take a look at this and really understand how much it costs to have a horse. Especially here in the California Bay Area.


Cargo & Lene said...

EG, when I come to SF in the fall, do you think I could pay you to drive me up to meet DD and Solly, if you feel well enough? I wuoldnt know how to get up there to give Solly a carrot or two otherwise :)

Evergrey said...

Absolutely! :D