Rough week to be a horse “mom”!

This has been one of those weeks when it’s tough to have an equine family.  Aside from the drama at work sapping my energy, we’ve been surrounded by wildfires – not close enough to be threatening, but numerous and close enough to be a sobering reminder of what can happen. No one ever wants fire, but having numerous large animals to evacuate makes it particularly frightening. To add to the fun of the week, the “kids” have been been providing me trials of their own!

You can barely make out the strange white fibers in Nash's eye, just above the arrow.
You can barely make out the strange white fibers in Nash’s eye, just above the arrow.

It started, of course, with the discovery of the odd floating fibers in Nash’s eye.  Tomorrow we find out what is going on, but it’s quite clear that he has no vision in that eye – and it’s not likely that will change.  Fortunately, he’s a good soul and seems to be coping just fine.  I only hope for two outcomes: first, that it’s not anything leading to serious (read: painful) complications; second, that his left eye is healthy enough that he’ll retain vision in that eye for some time to come.

As if it wasn’t enough that he had his mum worried with an eye problem, Nash decided that a hoof abscess might be “fun”.  Swollen leg and dead lame … poor Nash.  So, although tired from a day at work, I dutifully poulticed and wrapped hoof and leg.  My work done, time would take care of the rest.  Hah!  The next morning, my mother informs me that the poultice was now laying on the floor of Nash’s stall!  Worse – I’d used the last of most of the required materials to make that one!  Very helpful, Nash!  Fortunately for him, that short term poultice seemed to be enough – by the time I got the materials replenished, he was sound again.  Now the old man is feeling quite full of himself!  Tomorrow’s appointment with the vet ought to be fun!

Tally was a high spot in the week.  Recently I came to the realization that I have to change my voice aid for canter.  In spite of making progress in the calmness of canter, the departs continue to be explosive.  Although she settles, it takes some time and reduces the opportunity for working on improving the canter itself.  She’s been trying so hard in every way, it seemed clear that this was just an insurmountable conditioned response – so, if she can’t change her response, I can change the cue.

Friday was our first attempt, and the results were obvious.  All of the transitions were much improved, with only one showing any excess energy.  But Saturday was the real gift – not only was each canter transition calm, but her total focus was on what I was asking.  At each ask, you could see the wheels turning as she carefully considered how to step off into canter.  For the first time since the traumatic trainer, her canter was balanced – and at times even collected!  Down transitions were just as carefully executed and thoughtful on her part – once even coming quietly down right to walk, and halting within a single stride!  I was near tears!  My beautiful girl has come so far and was trying so hard!

Tally modeling a new cedar swag, after our session on Saturday.
Tally modeling a new cedar swag, after our session on Saturday.

Alas, we were not to repeat our performance the next day.  Saturday night, when we went to feed, I stroked her neck and was shocked at how hot she felt.  When she showed little interest in her dinner, it was time for the thermometer.  Fever of 104!  Eight thirty on Saturday night is not the best time to get a vet out.  With no other symptoms to be seen, I decided to give her an NSAID to break the fever and would evaluate in the morning.  Just before bed, I checked on my girl and she was munching her hay.

By next morning, Tally’s temp was back to normal.  According to my vet, it was likely a fleeting virus.  Vet’s orders: a few days off and keep an eye on her.  I’m happy to report that the girl is fully recovered!  Just in time for hideously hot temperatures!

Noble had to add his mark to the week by breaking away, once again.  Fortunately, it was as we entered the arena, so he wasn’t going very far.  But, in true “junior high school boy” fashion, he followed it up by being mom’s “best boy”.  That boy is either angel or devil – not much in between!  Just hoping he grows up more angel …

Be good to your horses … even when they’re not always good to us!


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