Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Chicklets

I picked up a handful of Red Sex Link pullets at the feed store yesterday. They are just too cute. God's creation is so amazing.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Back to Driving

Daisy and I have continued with our short hacks this week, and finally on Thursday she seemed very much back to her normal self! On Friday we took a short trail ride, and she was chomping at the bit, so to speak, to go for a gallop. We did and she was thrilled.
She's gaining weight back very surprisingly fast. She's still underweight, but definitely improving much quicker than I anticipated. I did increase her grain a bit, and her hay as well. 

This morning my friend and I got out to drive Daisy! She hadn't been driven since, I believe, October. 5 months! I was a little weary about how it would go, but I need not have worried. She was so perfect!
I lowered the shafts a bit as per the instruction I had received, but I neglected to tighten 'the other straps'... (I'm really not stellar with harness parts. All the diagrams online seem different), so we had the cart wobbling back and forth like a ship. I didn't figure out what I should have tightened until I was undoing the harness. Luckily, Daisy was spectacular even with the cart bobbing back and forth a bit. She wanted to trot often, but I kept the trot slow so to keep the cart as quiet as possible. Next time, I'll tighten things up and we should be fine.
So happy with my girl!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(Sort of) Wordless Wednesday

I hadn't weight-taped Daisy in a long time before her colic episode. However, I used to weight-tape her very regularly (weekly) and she generally always hovered around 900 pounds. And she hasn't changed much, so I can safely assume that prior to her colic episode, she was still around 900 lbs.

I weight taped her yesterday, and she was a 800 lbs. :/

I've been lightly (read: very lightly) riding Daisy. These rides include only a bareback pad to stress her as little as possible, and the longest they've been so far is twenty minutes. She's completely well again (in regards to digestion), but with her weight loss, she's much different to ride. 
Generally, Daisy loves to canter, and trot, and she knows where on our rides we do those things. Most of the time, I don't need to cue her for anything. And if I do, it's very slight, especially bareback as I've been going, it would only require me lightly touching her mane. These days, she ignores these cues. Today, at our normal trot spot, she happily continued walking. At our canter spot, I asked her to canter to see her response. I was more forceful in my cue, and she did canter, but slowed down again way before she normally does. She evidently enjoyed the canter, as she snorted over and over afterward, but she's just not her normal self.
The picture is from Monday. It's hard to capture it, but riding her feels like sitting on a skinny thoroughbred. And her hip bones jut out. 
I predict it will take a month to get her weight back to where it was.

In the meantime, I went to Jenny's farm on Sunday and rode her mare, Jolee. Jenny and one of her leasers and I went on a long ride. It felt so good to be in the saddle for longer than 20 minutes again! I'm hoping to go to Jenny's and ride her horses every now and then, to supplement my need for a ride 'fix'. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gesundheit

Contrary to popular belief, the German adage "Gesundheit", a phrase said when sneezing, does not in fact ask for blessings from God, but rather, a wish for the return to a state of health and wellness. "Gesundheit" literally means the state of being healthy.

Daisy has reached this state. Finally. 
She did not wake up healthy and normal on Wednesday morning as the vet had hoped and predicted. She woke up still pawing and attempting to roll. After many hours of walking, I administered banamine and waited it out. The vet and I discussed our options, which were a) A very expensive visit involving inter venous fluids to super-hydrate Daisy in an attempt to help her pass the impaction, or b) find someone with a trailer to trailer Daisy around for awhile to see if that would make her feel better. Option (b) was a long shot.
I called various people and no one was available to trailer Daisy around. I called the vet back and agreed to the IV fluids plan. We set an appointment for the following day (now today, Thursday). 

Last evening, I continued to walk Daisy to try to get her better. I had the idea to walk some hills with her... and my mom would probably like me to mention that with her persistence I gave Daisy a massaging grooming session... ;)
In any case, by last evening, all of a sudden things shifted in Daisy and she obviously passed the impaction, and the mineral oil from the vet started coming out.
And this morning, she was back to her old self. Praise God! And I was able to cancel that expensive vet appointment. 

Praise be to the LORD, 
   for he has heard my cry for mercy. 
The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
   my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, 
   and with my song I praise him. 
-Psalm 28:6-7

Thank you for all your prayers :) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Our First Substantial Bank Jump, 10/11/10

Waiting for our instructions... 

Stopping short on our first try to check it out

Easily breezing up it on our second try. It's unlike jumping-- more like gliding! So smooth. 2'5" height
 Hoping we have another cross country schooling opportunity in our future. . . 

Check out the full cross country schooling video located here: http://youtu.be/pomCmvpNEHo
The bank jump in the photos happens at 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Final Countdown


Today the vet came out for Daisy's colic. Those post includes most of the gory details, as non-gory as I can make them. But let me back up.
Where I left you all, Daisy was doing very well Sunday and I had hopes that by the next morning she would be 100% again.
Well, Monday morning Daisy was rolling and pawing all over again. I was out of oral banamine, so my vet refreshed my memory over the phone on how to give a shot of banamine  in her neck (which she's showed me how to do, but I'd never actually done). I gave Daisy the injection and it went fine. She jumped a little, but overall she was very good for me. Once that set in, I started squirting mineral oil in her mouth with an old dewormer tube... I used up an entire gallon. It was so messy and gross and got absolutely everywhere. 

The banamine wore off, but she still seemed to be doing well, pain wise. She had pretty explosive diarrhea all night long. She drank a lot of water that day though, so she was at least hydrated. 
This morning the vet called to ask if I wanted her out today. . . but Daisy was doing relatively well this morning, so I said no, because she seemed fine. 

This evening around 4, things weren't fine anymore. Daisy was rolling and pawing and in pain all over again. I called the vet and we decided she would come out later tonight. I gave Daisy 5cc's of banamine in her neck again for the pain. 

The vet got here at 8pm. She gave Daisy a physical exam and said that, even though Daisy hadn't pooped all day, she still had diarrhea in her. She sedated her with an injection in the vein in her neck. Once that set in a little, she gave her another 5cc's of banamine in her vein, and drew blood into the same syringe for Daisy's coggins test, so that we could get that out of the way. Then she attempted to get the tube up Daisy's nose to give her oil and water, but Daisy was jerking her head too much. She twitched her, and when that didn't work, gave her another dose of sedation. With the double dose of sedation and me twitching her, Daisy was still enough for the vet to pass the clear plastic tube up Daisy's left nostril, down to her stomach. She put some water into it, and then waited to see if anything came back out from Daisy's stomach. She said if it did, it would be a very bad sign. Luckily nothing came up. She pumped a gallon of mineral oil and half a gallon of water into Daisy's stomach, and removed the tube again. I held Daisy's head on my knee, and held the tube still the whole time. 

Then we opened the top half of Daisy's dutch door and backed her up to it. The vet went to the outside of the door and stood behind it, so that Daisy couldn't kick her. She put a plastic glove that went up to her shoulder on her arm and stuck her hand in Daisy's butt. She fished manure out of Daisy for a half hour, and had to go all the way into Daisy up to her shoulder. Daisy, as it turns out, was harboring a bad impaction within her. I held Daisy's sleepy, heavy, sedated head in my arms the whole time. The vet thinks she got most of it out, and with the oil and all that room in her now, it should be resolved in the morning. 

Boy, am I glad! I'll be so happy to have a healthy horse back. It's so easy to take little things in life for granted (your horse's daily health and ability to poop.... ), until they're gone. ;)

I posted about Daisy's colic issues and proneness to Lisa Huhn's facebook group. Lisa is the founder of Equinextion (see here: http://equinextion.homestead.com/ ), where I will be going for two weeks in May to study natural horse hoof trimming. She is into everything natural, so I thought she would be a good person to ask about how I could prevent Daisy's colics in the future. She directed me to her facebook group. I had quick, helpful answers right away! People brought up flax, bran, and probios as being good things to give Daisy on a regular basis to prevent her colic, besides her regular apple cider vinegar that I give her anyway.  I will be putting Daisy on ground flaxseed and probios, along with her ACV. Hopefully, we can avoid this situation altogether in the future. 

And so, this is the final countdown. The final evening. *Fingers crossed*, prayers said, that Daisy will be back to being my grumpy horse in the morning. 



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Positive Update

Saturday morning Daisy was doing better than she was on Friday. Best of all, I had the brilliant idea to offer her regular water along with her flavored water.
On Thursday, she had the choice between regular and flavored water all day, and she chose flavored water every time. So Friday I had just given her flavored water. And she drank such a small amount that I was very worried about her. Saturday, I offered her regular water again... and she drank! Girl can't make up her mind. 
The vet was still very worried about her dehydration, but by the end of yesterday she'd drank 5 gallons of water. Her banamine pain killer wore off yesterday (Saturday) at 11:30am. I had planned on having the vet come that afternoon, and the vet said to avoid giving her more banamine if possible. It was possible; Daisy was really not in pain! I monitored her all afternoon. She'd paw a little bit, and  I'd take her for a short walk, and let her rest again. The time between her pawing got longer and longer, until she wasn't show any signs of discomfort anymore! I ended up not needing the vet to come out, because she was so obviously doing better. She wasn't completely interested in eating like normal, but she wasn't in pain. I went to bed relieved. I checked on her again overnight and got her to drink. We've developed a routine over the past couple days where, if I squirt water in her mouth (with an old dewormer syringe), she'll drink some water. Then she stops, and after a moment I squirt water in her mouth, and she drinks out of the bucket herself again. As of yet, she hasn't drank of her own accord.... but at least she drinks when I 'help her'. I'm sure she'll go back to it on her own. 
Today (Sunday), she's been doing well. She mostly stood in her wooded paddock in the sun and relaxed for the day. She ate a couple flakes of hay, and has drank about 3 gallons of water... not an ideal amount, but she's also had very little to eat in the past days. (She had 2 flakes total today. Normally by now she'd have had 6-7 flakes, and drank 5+ gallons of water) She's clearly lost weight, but we'll just have to move forward from here. 
She's been off of grain since Thursday, and so I'm planning on giving her half her normal grain tomorrow morning, and probably her regular amount tomorrow evening, assuming she's doing even better. She's not 100% better yet, but she'll get there. 

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. :) Some people have horses that are prone to lameness... mine just happens to be prone to colic.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Abominable Colic

I actually looked on thesaurus.com to see what word I could use to describe the colic Daisy has been experiencing for the last soon-to-be 48 hours. The initial word that came to mind was "evil". 

On Wednesday I took Daisy for a long ride, because it was absolutely beautiful out. Afterward, I gave a riding lesson on her--which was 90% walking, with a few trot steps. 

Thursday morning, I awoke and my mother informed me that Daisy was outside rolling. Followed by pawing. My heart sank.

I hate colic. With a passion. I rarely use the word "hate" but for once, I am. Because that's how I feel.

I walked Daisy on and off for many hours. When she was loose in her stall, after awhile of standing there looking pained and shifting weight from one hind leg to the other, she would resort to pawing, followed by attempting to roll, which I wouldn't allow, so she would move to kicking at her stomach and going to her half-door and pawing at it violently, until I could finally get close enough to clip a lead on her and walk her more. I squirted vinegar in her mouth, because in the past, the vinegar helping her stomach digest helped us avert colic. If I hadn't been so dumb and lazy, perhaps I would have just put vinegar in her water regularly when she came home last week and therefore avoided this. I don't know.
  I called the vet, gave her banamine, and waited until it kicked in. Before I gave her the banamine, she already seemed to be doing a bit better; I wonder if the vinegar helped. I provided a bucket of luke-warm water from the house, with juice in it attempt to placate her. Over the course of the day, once the banamine kicked in, she ended up drinking around 5 gallons. She seemed to be her normal self mostly, everything was 'functioning' and her attitude seemed improved. I gave her another 'dose' of vinegar in the evening.
I got up at 3am Friday morning to check on her, since the banamine had worn off by then. She seemed fine, so I tossed her some hay (I'd been giving her small handfuls all day once she had the banamine; it only amounted to two small flakes). I got up at 7am and gave her half of her normal grain (so 1/4 quart) and another handful of hay. I went back to bed, and when I awoke at 9:15 she was at it again. More walking, though not as much as yesterday, more apple cider vinegar, more banamine. The banamine didn't seem to help as much today as yesterday. She didn't paw and roll, but she lay down sleeping often and seemed distant. Over the course of today, she's only drank about a half gallon of water. This makes me very worried, and makes my heart ache.

I just went and gave her another dose of banamine, at 11:20pm. This was my last dose, so unless she makes a miraculous recovery by tomorrow morning (I have faith), the vet will come out.

:( 
I'm hoping and praying that this will pass very soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

(Not Quite So) Wordless Wednesday

The woman who ended up being Daisy and my driving instructor posted these photos from County Fair to facebook a couple weeks ago. They were taken at the open game show following my 4H shows.

The photos where I'm riding bareback were taken during the first event of the show, Sit-a-Buck, where riders sit on a piece of paper and whoever holds the paper there longest, wins. 


You have to sit deep, hence my terrible posture ;). Daisy and I have always placed in the top two or three.


In this particular class, we were placed second. It was a bit unfair because the person I was riding against didn't canter any faster when they said hand gallop, so she should have been disqualified, but.... life's unfair. ;) 


Below you can see Daisy's canter command for when I ride bareback... in the beginning, I always grabbed her mane to stay balanced as she transitioned into the canter, and now she knows when I grab her mane that we're going to canter... no other aid needed.
The rest are from pole bending.





Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nothing New to Report . . .

This morning, as I came out to give Daisy a flake of hay.

Our days are pretty monotonous, and so I have trouble finding something new and exciting to share. I brought Daisy home on Thursday, and she will probably be home for good now. (Until May, when I go to Canada for my trimmer courses). 
She's such a typical mare. On Thursday when she came home, she was chipper on the ride. Once she was home, loose in her paddock and stall, she gave me the nastiest look she could possibly pull every time I came near her. Then yesterday evening I came in to give her her last flake of hay around 8pm, and she was sweet and kind and huggable and kissable. 
Yesterday's ride with her was interesting. It was a bit windy, and she was more energetic than I had expected. We rode 3.7 miles. She was fighting me when I tried to slow her at the canter, which hasn't happened in a long time. She is the energizer bunny for sure.

Today we're experiencing high winds, so our ride was limited to a short ten minute bareback jaunt down the driveway. 

My chivalrous barn cat, Gr├Ânemeyer.

Onwards and upwards as usual,

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