Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gabbrielle Update

Gabbrielle has been wearing a poultice for nearly two days now and still no improvement in her limp.  I bought a bag of Epsom salts for soaking in, and then came to the realization that there was no way I would get this horse's hoof into a bucket of warm water and salts.  She's afraid of buckets, even though I occasionally feed grain out of them.  I set a bucket of water beside her and she snorted at it and backed off. It would take some time to train her to drink out of bucket, none-the-less soak her foot in one.  Then there's the fact that the horses avoid puddles because they think they are bottomless pits.

The vet's assistant grumbled a bit when the vet told me to start soaking my horse's hoof, and the vet said, "Sometimes they'll stand in a bucket during feed time if they are busy eating hay."

I started thinking about all the training that would be involved just to get her to put her foot in a dry bucket, and then to train her to keep it in there and not knock the bucket over, and I realized that I had to get a soaking boot.  I looked at the horse boots I already had and saw that none of them could hold water, so I drove to the feed store to buy a soaking boot, but the owner said she only orders those in the spring.  I didn't realize there was a season for hoof abscesses.  I thought they just happen most commonly after rain, which we have year round in Arizona.

So, I ordered a hoof soaking boot online, but if she has an abscess, I'm sure it will be cured or blown out by the time the boot arrives.  At least I'll have one within reach for future episodes.  There's no way I'm going to try a plastic bag either.  This is the horse that ripped a tie ring right off the side of the trailer when she saw a fluff of white batting fold away from her leg while I was cutting off some wraps that the vet put on while she was sedated.  She's older and more experienced now, but I'd probably freak out if someone attached a jellyfish-looking bag of water to my foot and I didn't understand what was happening.

While changing her poultice for the third time, she kept looking up the driveway as if waiting for the vet to show up.  The vet said that Gabbrielle has a lot of interesting facial expressions for a horse.  It's true.  You can almost see the wheels turning in her head as she makes connections.

If she likes or doesn't like something, you immediately know it because she either throws her ears way forward or pins them way back.  I've actually been working with her on her facial expressions.  I started it when she was a 2-year-old and I was training her to show at halter.  I had to teach her to put her ears forward and snake her neck out with an arch when I gave a cue.

More recently, I've refused to give her hay until she puts her ears forward.  Otherwise, she pins her ears at me as if I'm a horse she is trying to chase away from her food.  I don't want her to have that attitude toward me, so I'll hold onto her hay and say, "Ears forward!"

When she turns them forward, I say, "That's my girl," and drop the hay into her trough.  As a result, if I look at her when she's pinning her ears back at another horse, she'll suddenly flip her ears forward and look back at me as if saying, "Who?  Me?  I didn't have my ears back."

I did make it out for an anniversary dinner last night.  My husband surprised me with a beautiful silver necklace that contains pink sapphire, amethyst and sky blue topaz.  Earlier he bought us a new comforter and pillow set for our bed, because our old one was falling apart at the seams and the dog hair showed up on it too well.  A portion of our old comforter was black, and when Scrappy slept on it, he was totally camouflaged, so we kept sitting on him or throwing him into the air when stripping the bed to do laundry.  Wheeeeeee, Super Dog flying through the air!

The new comforter is red and gold, so his blackness is much easier to spot.

Although, he's not in this picture, so don't look too hard.  I got my husband one of those rolling tool kits.  It's pretty cool.  I'm a bit of a fanatic for storage/organization stuff, because it holds the clutter at bay.  But this gift was his idea, so it wasn't like I was pushing my likes on him.  When we get each other gifts that we ourselves wanted, we call it a "bowling ball", after the episode where Homer Simpson gives Marge a bowling ball with his name on it.  No bowling balls this year.  I was good about not getting him any bowling balls for Christmas either.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I've done too many posts today, so I'll leave a comment. I discovered that one complication of Gabbrielle's condition is that I can't take any of the horses for walks or rides, because I have to keep her quiet. As soon as I put a halter on another horse, she starts running around whinnying. So, I was just letting Bombay graze by the haystack under my supervision when this wild rabbit hopped right up to his head and began eating beside him. Then another one came, and another, and another. These four rabbits just hung out with my horse. They didn't spook him and he didn't spook them. I'll bet they felt really comfortable because they knew the coyotes wouldn't be coming around if he was out. I never have my camera when I need it.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Also, it's supposed to get below freezing tonight, so I'm blanketing the horses for the first time since they've been in Arizona.

Cheryl Ann said...

We're supposed to have a frost over here tonight, too. It was COLD and windy today...all the kiddos ran back inside at recess to get their jackets and sweaters!

Katharine Swan said...

I've often wondered as well what I would do if I had to soak Panama's feet in buckets. I think it would be hard at first, because he can be spooky sometimes, but he is also well acquainted with standing still in the cross ties for wound care, so I think he would get over it. Eventually. ;o)

K.K. said...

When Pistol had an abcess this summer we soaked his foot in one of those low rubber feed pans. It probably wouldn't work if she is scared of buckets, but it is what they were using at our vet clinc. It's got much lower sides, and doesn't make as much noise as a bucket would.
I also made sure to soak him durring feeding time, he kept busy with his dinner and didn't worry too much about what I was doing to his feet.
But I will admit, soaking feet SUCKS. My monster was pretty good about it, until the last two times we had to soak, he stepped on the edge and spilled all the water out.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

K.K. - I know what you are talking about regarding those rubber feed pans. I like that idea. I don't have any on hand, so I'll look for one on my next trip into town. I was looking around for something about that size and considered using an old frying pan. I know the vet wanted me to use a container that is roughly the same distance from the hoof to the side as the water is deep for even distribution of the salts.

achieve1dream said...

I'm so, so thankful Chrome is so chill about everything. He was a saint for soaking his hoof and only dumped it once. He did get bored and impatient at times though so I'll have to remember the hay idea if he gets another one.

I hope you can find a solution for soaking her hoof. I don't know if it's absolutely necessary, but I'm sure it does speed up the process.

Oh and the part about super, flying Scrappy cracked me up!!!! To funny! I'm glad you have a new comforter so he doesn't get tossed again hehehe. :D