Ranger Recap: Angry horse and Brain=FRIED

3 posts in one week? WHAT?

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Batt doesn’t take very good selfies…

First off, thanks to everyone for your support for Batt. He’s doing OK though I heard him cough this morning… Ugh. I’m going to need more ventipulmin soon so I have a call into the vet for it. Hopefully I can get a refill today so I have an extra bottle in hand vs risking an emergency vet call this weekend (I shouldn’t need it until Tuesday, but I don’t want to risk it).

My lesson last night was…interesting.

We did a lot of work on the flat, really trying to get a nice, round, uphill trot that encouraged Ranger to use his hind end like he does at the canter. I started off throwing away the reins so that didn’t exactly help… We did get there in the end.

Then at the canter, where last week I had too much input, this week, I tried to correct

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Subi’s selfie game is MUCH stronger

that and didn’t give enough. Ugh. I can’t win!!! So, I did try to change that and ride providing a little more input and use more hand. Seriously. I can’t win! We also introduced more circles, riding a large circle into a small 10m circle at the canter which actually worked once I had the right amount of control and use of my outside leg…

Next? The most god awful exercise ever. Well, almost ever.

Basically it was 3 bounces. Flowers (2 ft skinny flower box) — large crossrail — flowers (again 2 ft skinny flower box) on a diagonal. HARDEST. MOST IMPOSSIBLE. EXERCISE. EVER.

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These boys like to go inside the second the weather is less than ideal.

We struggle with this evil thing forever as I fought to use enough right leg and both hands to keep Ranger straight. It took us about 10 attempts before we made it through the first 2 parts (we did manage to walk over the first 2 parts a couple of times too) but then still failed the out another million and a half times and Ranger was PISSED. I could tell you the point of all of this but I had such an ANGRY HORSE who I managed to try and keep from bolting and dragging, but… after we got a guide pole next to the out, we did get over it, but… he was ANGRY. And we almost bolted a few times…

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Acting innocent… And begging for peppermints.

From here we ended with a figure 8 over an inside single around to an our inside broken line (we went around about 5 times). The first time, my canter was too slow and while the distance was nice to jump 1, everything fell apart to the line and we got slower and uglier and angrier. I tried to get more pace to the first fence and I did, but the distance wasn’t quite as nice and I still screwed up the in of the line and the rest of it wasn’t much better. Continuing around, the single got better and I stopped thinking about the last exercise, but we took a flyer to the in before surviving the out… Finally we put it together for the last 2 times through and had the pace, which allowed me to focus on the turns which allowed the distances to be there.

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Ranger says, “see ya!” and Coco stays to see if I have more treats…

The humidity was awful and we ended at that point. It probably took about 4 repetitions before Ranger let his anger over the previous exercise go and actually started listening… If it hadn’t been so hot, I’d had cantered him around a few times just to get his focus back on me, but… Oh well.

It was just one of those days. Angry Horse days.

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Photo wall at work

 

Recurrence of heaves: the saga of Batt’s struggle to breathe

Michele said she’d fall off her chair if I blogged 3x this week. Here’s blog 2 of 3. I’ll be shocked if she comments on all 3!

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This guy isn’t feeling too hot. 

I alluded to Batt’s struggle with mild heaves a little in the past. It’s never been completely under control, but it’s never been terrible. There are thing I could probably do better (such as, no round bales, but at the same time, the quality of his round bales are often better than my squares so… my round bale guy is fabulous about making sure I get non-dusty bales). In the past, I’ve supplemented MSM, which has helped, and turmeric, which has also helped, and also added in generic zyrtec. Flax helped A LOT but was a trigger for his impaction colic so the risks outweighed the benefits there. I’ve tried a slew of other supplements and some helped, some didn’t and many helped sort term (Heave Ho I’m looking at you).

With this past year’s crop of square bales basically being crap (thank you rain), I purchased a hay steamer, and that has helped a lot. But, like everything else, things help only so much…

The past couple of weeks, Batt has gotten more and more agitated as humidity has increased. I’ve increased grass thinking that if he were off hay, at least part time, that might help (no). Low humidity days, were better, high humidity days, not so great. My farrier came out about a week and a half ago and mentioned the obvious, humidity makes breathing hard. And with all the rain we’ve had over the last 2 years, there is so much more mold out there. Of course. ::head–>desk::

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100% humidity at 6AM. It’s soup outside.

Around Wednesday/Thursday, the coughing increased to the point that I tossed a dex packet in his dinner grain to see if it would help. And by morning? Much better. So we reduced it down to a half a packet for a few days. Monday night? I completely forgot (bad mom). Yesterday morning? He had reached a point where I stood there at his stall at 6am considering an emergency vet call. He was hacking, gasping, and spewing food everywhere as he tried to breath and eat (world’s sloppiest eater anyway).

img_0381I tossed in some dex just to see how quickly it would work any headed inside. By the time we went to turn out, he was already looking better. Some coughing, but you could see the dex doing its work. Emergency vet call averted.

Calling the vet during business hours resulted in an Rx for prednisalone and Ventipulmin (we were able to bypass the visit for now as she had recently seen him). Other than crying over the cost (OMG a 100ml bottle of Ventipulmin directly from the vet, ::cries:: I don’t know if my vet writes Rx as legally, in PA, they are not required to), he is feeling SO MUCH BETTER as of this morning. He can breathe, he isn’t coughing, and seems comfortable.

img_0822Going forward, he’s on a decreasing dose of ventipulmin for the next few days though if it works, we’ll talk about keeping him on a tiny dose (NOOOO), seeing how he does without it, or saving it for bad attacks (hopefully). He’ll probably be on the prednisalone (thankfully not prednisone as I can handle this without fearing allergic reactions!) daily after a 2x loading dose last night for the foreseeable future before dropping down to every other day if possible. If that doesn’t work, we may consider a lower dose (right now, it’s 250mg/day). My wallet cries, but I’m hoping he can at least breathe.

As I now have an insane vet bill, if anyone want to buy a belt, let me know. Sample of some below but I have lots of other patterns as well. Will take pictures of other elastics later.

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Some belts, lots of other possibilities exist! Fully adjustable. 

New normal: a photo recap

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posing for peppermints…

First off, thank you everyone for your suggestions for ulcer preventatives! I started him on the Animed Ulc-R-Aid (and Subi’s eating it), but I might switch/add the Purina Outlast. I’m not sure yet. Regardless, I’ve been lazy and I could order the Ulc-R-Aid online and it got here overnight whereas I would have to drive 3 miles to the feed store (I haven’t actually been to the feed store yet) for the Purina and figure out a container for it…

img_0400Beyond that, Subi has been feeling good lately. Really good. Really, really good. Stall life agrees with him. He’s sound. Sounder than he’s been in years. To the point that I’m considering un-retiring him. What will that look like? I don’t know. But he has energy. Normally I turn him out and he gallops around, bucking, rearing, and rolling for a good 10+ minutes with a few trot and canter steps for me to evaluate his soundness. For the last few weeks, I’ve been staring at him, amazed at just how good he looks. So, we’re going to start on the lunge line (I purchased a cavesson and surcingle) and see where this goes. If he can hold up, great! If not, back to retirement he goes. He’s off all medication and joint supplements and I’m not willing to medicate to keep him un-retired (but if he needs them for the winter when he’ll be off again, fine). But we’ll see where this goes…

The one morning I bring my phone out, he decides NOT to act like a fool.

I also came across some old videos (thanks Facebook memories) from 2011. Both of us were A LOT younger back then. Videos are crappy quality, but it was nice seeing this version of Subi! Today, 8 years ago.

Meanwhile I ordered Batty a hay steamer. His heaves seems worse on small bales though they’re not dusty. Eating inside obviously doesn’t help. But add in the time of year, allergens, and all that, we’ll see how this goes. If we need to get through spring with prednisone, we will, but I’d like to avoid the devil drug if necessary (I’m allergic so I’m curious how I’ll react to grinding pills I’m allergic too…)

Jiminy? He’s the same. Some days he’s well behaved, others he’s being shipped off to TN… It remains to be seen where he’ll end up.

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Subi and his mini-me

But, spring is finally springing here in the mid-atlantic!

And Ranger? He’s the best! I never did recap my lesson, but… It ended like this.

And all was right in the world.

Defeated.

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The 3 amigos on a sunny Sunday

Defeat.

I was hoping that my vet appointment would bring answers. Instead, it just leaves more questions.

Subi definitely has cataracts, but the conclusion is that he has enough vision (basically they’re in the center of each eye, worse on the right, but similar in each eye) that he can see and it shouldn’t impact his peripheral vision…

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Jiminy was convinced I had food.

But, at the same time, he is acting like he’s seeing ghosts so they could be freaking him out and the vet agreed that he IS sensitive. We’ve seen it before. Something bothers him and he has an unexplained reaction. A tooth is SLIGHTLY sharp, he stops eating. He is chilly, he shivers uncontrollably. He doesn’t like the taste of something in his feed, he won’t eat for days even if the offending item is removed. He’s dramatic. This could just be that. His eyes could be playing a role and making him uncomfortable and he doesn’t know how to deal.

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Idiot boys just keep staring.

It could be something else. So, since he’s doing pretty well with the daylight, we’re holding off additional tests until we need them. Next stop? We’ll draw blood and test for lyme though he’s showing no sign of any other symptoms… We’re also pulling him off his equioxx for now since he’s feeling REALLY good and he doesn’t need to feel that good on a daily basis. Honestly, I don’t need him bucking, rearing, and bolting around the field like a freak regularly. He can run around but are the antics necessary? I’ll keep it on hand for when his arthritis acts up and/or the ground gets hard. But, now that it’s warmer and the ground is soft? The vet agreed we can hold off.

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Jiminy comes to visit.

Otherwise? He got his teeth and a combo vaccine. His teeth were in really good shape. Surprisingly good shape since he was due in August and we both decided to hold off because the weather was gross and hot. But, to be honest, he probably didn’t need to get floated. It was good to get him done, but very little was necessary. Despite the drugs, he expressed his disapproval. After almost keeling over drunk last time around (he actually almost fell over from his dose), he didn’t get as much so he was barely drunk this time. Just enough to do his teeth without drama (but still with protests). He has NO issue with the float, but HATES the stupid head thing that keeps his mouth open… lol.

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Freaks in action. 

Anyway, I’m feeling defeated. And I’ll be feeling broke when I get the bill. Lol. Batt and Jiminy got their vaccine and all is good in the world. Batty is in good weight?! And Jiminy is doing fine as long as he doesn’t gain (has ONE stupid fat pocket though the rest of his weight is perfect).

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Waiting for the vet with me this morning

That’s my story. I quit.

Freaks.

I have the big guys in the round pen this morning waiting for Subi’s 11:30 vet appointment. I thought this would be an easy solution. But, no, they’re freaks. They’re lunatics. They’re idiots. They’ve never seen the round pen before.

But, since I need sedation to get them moved, they’ll stay there until I transfer them to their stalls and Subi gets drugged. Idiot boys.

Collective age? 40.

Really?

Grow up.

Update tomorrow post vet regarding his eyes. He’s also getting his teeth done so I’m going to enjoy the sedative…

Update and help the cats please

Before I update, just wanted to put this out there. If you have a few dollars to spare, or can send a few supplies, please consider helping out. Some people I know through people I know, are working to help a cat hording situation in AZ. What was initially thought to be about 20 cats indoors and out, has turned out to be 30+ with exact numbers probably well above that. Every time they show up, more cats are there. The situation is taking significantly longer to handle too because the cats are requiring medical attention and surgery beyond just the spay/neuter. Many of the females are pregnant and have had litters. Most have giardia, many have URIs. Indoor cats have ear mites. It’s a horrific situation. Anyway, anything you can do, please do. I don’t share stuff like this often, but I am today. If all you can do is share the campaign, I’d appreciate it. If you can send a case of food, that would be wonderful! If you can donate money, they’d love that as well. If you are in Peoria AZ and can foster, please reach out.

GoFundMe the Monterosa Cat Project ($5 helps!)

Amazon Wish List for the Monterosa Cat Project (List is low now, but I’m assuming they may need more supplies)

Social Media 

img_9569In other news, I FINALLY have had a chance to hang out out with Ranger! I had a short lessons last week (I wasn’t able to do much thanks to my inability to breathe post pneumonia) and now my trainer is away for 3+ weeks at a horse show. But, I can ride during my lesson time while she’s away and thankfully I can breathe again! Nothing worth reporting on, but it was nice to ride again and work on regaining endurance. Nothing fancy, just some flat work and single, low fences. We were both exhausted after that. Lol. Ranger is a bit out of shape too…

Missed this guy so much!

Subi has sort of fallen off the wagon too. I’m not entirely sure what is going on with him. He started to adjust to coming in at night and then suddenly started tensing up, getting spooking, rearing all the time (almost on top of me one morning) and it all culminated 3 nights ago when I could not catch him for the first time in…13 years. This horse has issues, but catching isn’t one of him. And, for all his issues, he’s not spooky. Reactive? Yes, spooky no. The constant tension, stress in his eyes, and a few other things have me fearing ulcers. So, I’m trying a few things and I’ll see if we have any improvement. He’s been eating OK (well, not his hay), but at the same time… I’m trying to trust my gut. I will say I’m not scoping, even though many will say I should. He was scoped 4 years ago and I’m just not putting him through that stress again.

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Someone at work filled the candy jar with peppermints. I may have been taking handfuls for the kids… 

In addition, I’m doing some behavior modification. Teresa from Journey with a Dancing Horse recommended a leading technique that I started introducing last night. Basically, you have the horse follow and maintain the same distance. This video explains it. Probably not the best way to introduce it, but I introduced it last night, in the dark, on the driveway. We’ve been doing work on the driveway at night before heading into his stall. I think he started to get the idea. Then we followed up this morning in the round pen and led to the field that way. He seemed more relaxed (though he is better in the daylight). We did have a spook, but this one was legitimate as my dog came flying around the corner like a bat out of hell. He stayed out of my space and calmed down immediately once he realized it way Hermione so I’ll take that one as a win. Normally we have an incident and we carry tension the rest of the walk to the field. Not today.

That’s about it. Batty’s heaves are acting up, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to go the steamer route soon. I’m broke so I’ll be building one, but I was hoping to avoid it. He’s better with hay outside (despite the round bale form — my round bale guy has really good hay), it’s just the stall seems to exacerbate his issues. Oh well.

You crazy lunatics! Why are you spooking?!?!?!?!?!

Preparing for turn in and turn out lately has been… interesting. Subi is either really good or really… not good and on edge. I’m sure part of it is that he needs a job and being in a stall for half the night isn’t helping. So, he’s either on his best behavior or he rears. I’m prepared for both.

This morning he was pretty good walking down to the field. Until we got close and then… explosion. What made this different was there was a chain reaction. Usually Subi explode and I can get his attention and Batt ignores us. Except this time Batt exploded too. My husband was a little shocked by the calm, fat appendix thing at the end of his lead rope exploding in the air with all four feet off the ground (this is impressive). I focused on Subi while Erik got Batty in the field. Except, once in the field, Batt started rolling and bucking and acting stupid while Subi tried to be good while almost exploding again. I could feel the power keg in my hand and we had one mini explosion as we walked to the gate and while he wasn’t listening, he was trying. Once his halter was off (stupid rope halter…), the fireworks started…

FYI Jiminy had NO IDEA what was going on (he only reacted when the big guys got too close to him and to join the fun)…

Watch with sound…

I’m hoping everyone will be alive and INSIDE THE FIELD when I get home. They were picking at Subi’s leftover mash when I left for work so I assume that was enough of a distraction… Jiminy was VERY disappointed that the boys calmed down enough to help pick at food as he thought the bucket was 100% his…

Horses are stupid.

It feels like I’ve been saying this a lot, but evidently I haven’t used this as a blog title yet.

But seriously, HORSES ARE STUPID. At least my horses are stupid.

Subi seems to follow a 2-3 day on (good behavior) followed by an explosion.

I had been leading him in with a halter and a chain. Except, he started resenting the chain, overreacting to the chain, and I decided to try something different so we’ve moved on to the rope halter. Prior to the rope halter, it got to the point that I couldn’t even correct any behavior as he’d correct himself… With the rope halter, things have been better. Well, I haven’t had to do anything since throwing it on Friday, but… Most of our time is spent with Subi licking and chewing. Saturday night I even led him to the barn alone. No Batt in sight! (Batt decided he wanted to go out the frozen gate shut gate and I didn’t feel like waiting…)

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Not innocent

Until last night. Last night he was on edge. But, we halted, we backed, we licked, we chewed, we backed, we halted, we kept ourselves in check. I was very proud. Especially considering the ground was slushy and gross.

This morning, slush had frozen over and I pulled blankets. So, 28 degrees out, he was cold. And it was icy. (tough, it was going up to 54-55). And instead of behaving, Subi decided rearing was the right response. I can’t remember my initial reaction. I might have just yanked on his halter a few times and then backed him down the snowy hill. Then we walked onto the icy driveway to take the less slippy path.

Passing the “front” of the house, he tried to be stupid again and I lost it and yelled “ARE YOU CRAZY? DO YOU WANT US BOTH TO DIE? WOULD THAT JUST BE EASIER?” And scared the shit out of both him and Batty. And after that, every time he so much breathed out of place, I might have yelled, “WOAH!” and Subi halted. And then a little harshly yelled, “Back!” and he backed. And then “Walk on!” and only, then did I soften my voice… We made it to the field pretty quickly even with halt and back breaks, but by the time we got there, lots of licking and chewing were going on, and a stupid chestnut’s head was on the ground.

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So. Much. Trouble. 

When he first reared, he nearly reared on top of me and well, not acceptable. The halting and backing HAD been working alone, but sometimes you need to escalate? I’m not sure I’m a fan of yelling (lol), but sometimes I forget JUST HOW MUCH this horse reacts to voice and dislikes being yelled at.

Once the round pen dries up some (haha) we’re going to start working in there. I’m not sure he’ll be sound enough for lunging, but no reason I can’t start desensitizing and other ground work. I need a book of fun ground exercises that aren’t stressful for joints. But if it kills me, we’re going to learn to love tarps. That’s my Subi goal. We’re bomb proofing.

Meanwhile, my other stupid horse is a sloppy eater. Send help. HOW DO I FIX THIS???

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Who does this? How do I fix this? I can’t feed him on the ground as he’d spill his feed all over and eat his bedding… He’d do better without the cubes/pulp but chronic colic and I’m scared to stop what’s working… Picture taken during arctic blast so slop was FROZEN TO THE WALL. 

And my stupid mini likes to poop under the tack room door. We moved mats around, but he’s driving me insane.

Catching up

Not too much to write about. I’ve basically been sick since my last post (bronchitis or possibly pneumonia though we didn’t do x-rays so don’t actually know) so not much has happened. Still recovering… Haven’t ridden in weeks due to being sick and with a high of 17 this week, chances are I won’t be riding again… Haven’t cancelled 3 lessons in a row in a super long time. I miss Ranger.

My nursing crew (sleeping on the job)

The boys are starting to get into a routine. Some days Subi is a gentleman to lead, other days he’s a rearing mess (more at the end)… But, he seems to be OK in the stall. He more or less eats his dinner (we’ve been feeding breakfast outside) and picks through hay. Sometimes he drinks, sometimes he doesn’t.

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Tiny holes don’t stop Batt!

Batty is a stall pig, but seems to love his stall. He was inhaling too much hay so he was downgraded from the 2″ hay net to a 1″ hay net. That hasn’t stopped him… But, thankfully he still has a little hay left in the morning.  He has free choice hay outside and stands and eats all day. He really doesn’t need to eat 15+lbs of hay in his stall. Not sorry about limiting his hay AT ALL. He’s a pig. He’s also a messy pig. I switched him Saturday from shavings to pellets and HOPEFULLY that will help. Thankfully the pellets aren’t dusty either so… With his heaves, I worry about stalling in general, but he seems ok. I do want to start steaming his hay, just need to build him a steamer…

Jiminy is fine, but likes to poop RIGHT under the storage room door. Maybe next weekend I’ll add another mat there so that I stop messing with the screenings. Thanks Jiminy, very inconvenient.

I also can’t wait until I have electric. Doing stalls by headlamp isn’t the easiest, but oh well. It works?

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Fun key chains from Painted Flanks (though a little bigger than I thought)

Yesterday, the farrier was out and the boys had there feet done in their stalls. Subi was VERY good considering the change of routine. My farrier was very happy not to be trimming on a hill or in the mud. Batt had several abscesses in his front left — not surprising–but overall, everyone was pretty good.

Turning back out after trimming was another story… Subi was a jerk, and proceeded to take his rearing to another level. I did a little ground work walking to the field as I could feel him on edge (he acts up more when the ground is mushy–he doesn’t like the unstable ground), but outside of the gate he proceed to explode, rearing about 6 times and freaking Batty out. I did get after him and maybe overreacted, but… He exploded once he was free (after halter was off and I was safely out of the field — he’s good about that). When we brought in a few ours later in the dark, the ground was harder and he was a bit better. I halted and backed him every once in a while. He rushed the hill where the footing is a bit…slippery, but otherwise was decent. I did extra halts and backs anyways. This morning he was…strange. Extra slow and cautious. I felt like I had to drag him to the field. I’m thinking he’s feeling yesterday? Regardless, we’re doing halts and backs every.single.day. while walking to and from the barn until he can contain himself.