Friday, May 31, 2013

Note to Self

Never, ever, ever over-schedule myself again.  My brain is on overload between taking Scrappy to the vet and scheduling his surgeries, having both an equine vet and an equine dentist critique each of my horse's physical health and dental health, and having my farrier critique each of my horse's hoof health.  I'm glad that I've got such a great team of equine health care providers, but if I have to hear one more thing that is "wrong" with my animals, I'm going to have to start catching my brains in a hat.  It's hard to explain to people that the name of the game with me is to lessen my stress -- not add to it.

My receptivity depends upon the bad news being spread out over a long period of time, so when I get bombarded with negative information all at once, I tend to curl up into a ball and start asking everyone to go away and leave me alone.  I hire people to help me -- not to assess everything that is wrong and give me assignments on how to fix it.  Advice is cheap.  True assistance is hard to come by.

Scrappy hasn't been doing too hot since the vet put the cone of shame on his head to prevent him from chewing that mass growing on his leg.  I think it hurt his neck, because he tries to jump on the couch and the cone blocks him, slamming into his shoulders and neck.  I couldn't take watching him hurt himself anymore, so I just covered his wound in vet wrap and removed the cone.  Such a simple solution, and the dog is much happier for it.  When I took Scrappy into the vet's office, we had his leg wrapped, and the vet took the wrapping off and gave him the cone.  I'll air the leg out under supervision so that he doesn't chew it when I remove the bandage, but I'm done with that cone.

As usual, both the dog and equine vets spent some time talking about corrections in each animal's diets.  Some were slightly underweight and some were slightly overweight.  It's hard for me to deal with doctors who expect perfection.  With so many things "wrong" in the world, why must people act like it is so urgent to correct such minor issues?  My hay farmer is sufficiently confused because every time I call for more hay, I have to ask for something different because someone is always changing up the menu on me.  I've decided that this time I am going to ask for 1/3 straight grass, 1/3 straight alfalfa, and 1/3 mix.  I like pre-mixed hay because sometimes it is really hard to break slices or flakes of hay in half to make my own custom mix.  Plus I lose a lot of hay when I do break it.  The wind just picks it up and blows it away.

The equine dentist went over the problems he saw in each horse's mouth and started the process of correcting them.  It turned out that both Bombay and Gabbrielle had been biting the insides of their cheeks when they had bits in their mouths.  P.S. rode Bombay around the arena by just attaching both ends of a rope rein to the chin loop of a rope halter the other day.  She was concerned about his noisy mouth.  In the past, horse trainers "corrected" that with nose bands to restrict his mouth and keep it quiet.  I was pleasantly surprised that neither Lostine nor Rock needed any dental work.

The farrier showed me how Rock's front hooves were out of alignment after years of wearing shoes.  His heels were actually in front of his frogs, putting the entire hoof half an inch too far forward.  That affects the bone alignment and is the cause of him tripping at faster gaits.  The farrier can correct it slowly over the next 6 to 12 months.  There were bruises where the white line was separating because nails had been driven into it.  He also talked about how Lostine and Gabbrielle's hooves were out of balance because they wear down the insides of their hooves faster than the outside.

Gabbrielle has her own special set of problems, because her habit of always putting the same front leg forward when lowering her head has caused one front heel to always be lower than the other.  Bombay's problem is dry hooves.  No amount of moisturizer and conditioner makes a difference with him, so I always have to hear about it when people notice the chips on his hoof walls.  I get pretty tired of people asking me when his next hoof trim is scheduled.  His hooves have chipped for as long as I've had him.  It's just the nature of his make up.  I view chipping as being a form of natural trimming.  I don't view it as a problem.  I'm glad to have a lot of people caring for my horses, but it gets frustrating and exhausting when everyone is giving unsolicited advice that contradicts what every other person is saying.

The good news is that the farrier didn't charge me from removing Rock's shoes, because Rock was so well behaved.  He thinks he's going to be a phenomenal horse because he has such a good temperament at such a young age.  He also said that duns have the best hooves of all the horses he has worked with.  The only horses with better hooves were duns with zebra stripes.  I'm not sure what the markings have to do with hoof health, but it must be something in the genes.

On the herd integration front, I've been cutting Rock loose with the other horses once a day under supervision.  Usually, everything is copacetic as long as Rock runs off as soon as Bombay or Gabbrielle chase him off.  However, he eventually starts challenging them and that's when I have to split them up with the crack of my whip.  Gabbrielle did manage to stand in the stall next to Rock while getting her hooves trimmed without flipping out.  When I released her, she chose to hang out in the barn with him rather than galloping across the paddock to join the rest of the herd.  The other promising sign I saw was that the horses were blowing bubbles in the water troughs, which is how Gabbrielle made friends when I introduced her to the herd.

I think Lostine feels like she's just too old to deal with new horses.  She doesn't mind having him in her space.  She'll chase Bombay and Gabbrielle off if they try to eat out of her food trough, but I don't think she knows how to handle Rock.  She pins her ears back at him if he sticks his nose in her trough, but when he doesn't budge, she lets it go and eats with him.  As soon as Rock starts harassing Lostine by biting her on the rump, I put him back in his stall because I don't want to stress her out.  He'll learn soon enough that biting and kicking are not allowed here.

In other news, Rock's saddle shipped today, so hopefully we can start riding him some time next week, assuming that it fits.  I'll probably do a review on it once it arrives.

We have been working on a project involving replacing a block window with a tinted privacy window we can open and close in the master bath, because there is no ventilation on the southern side of our house.  After three appointments and several phone calls, the new window was supposed to be installed today.  I emphasized that it was important that they are not here making a racket while my farrier is trimming my horses' hooves, and they promised they would be here and done with the noisy part of the project by the time my farrier arrived.

However, they were running late and were going to end up arriving at the same time as my farrier, so the horses took priority and I told the window company that they would have to reschedule.  I have to train myself to just say no when people try to schedule something that is too tight for me.  It never works out.  There usually ends up being some collision and I have to run back and forth between service providers answering their questions and signing their paperwork.  I can't be doing that around horses.  So, when the window company tried to reschedule on one of my horse training days, I said no.  They needed to work me in at a time and day when there would be absolutely no horse activities going on.  I think we worked it out.  I also think I won't be open for adding anything else to my calendar for a while.  I need some rest.  So do the horses.


Cindy D. said...

Ocotillo bloom?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy - Yes, but don't get too excited. The picture was taken several weeks ago. Everything is dried up now. I just have stock photos I use when I don't have recent photos of the horses.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Rock is already cantering without tripping now that my barefoot farrier removed his shoes and trimmed his hooves. He also played with a Jolly Ball in the barn aisle and the other horses tolerated his presence.

Tonight two more snoopers showed up on my bluff to spy on me while I worked with my horses in my backyard. I guess people think it is the equivalent of a wildlife vista. What they don't realize is that they are already trespassing by the time they reach my PRIVATE - KEEP OUT sign. Everyone assumes the sign is the property line, but it's actually the middle of the street. I need to just start carrying my camera around with me and video taping them.

achieve1dream said...

Yay for Rock! I'm glad he's not tripping so much. Chrome is bad about putting one hoof forward too. As for the chipping, not a big deal as you say, but if it ever does bother you or causes cracks you can just rasp a bevel around the hoof to keep the walls from touching the ground. Or ask your farrier to bevel them and hopefully it won't grow out too long between trims. :) I don't know why people have to be so nosy about your horses and everything else lol.

Reddunappy said...

Take a deep breath girl!! LOL

Yeah the more things they see "wrong" the more money they try to get out of you!

Rock sounds like a gem! Glad your BF farrier got the shoes off of him.

Rising Rainbow said...

When I introduce a new horse, I usually put it in with the herd boss alone. Once that relationship is resolved, it is usually pretty easy to add in the rest. Occasionally I will partner the horse up with another and another but only in pairs until everyone knows each other. It seems to go smoother that way.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Rising Rainbow - I started out doing it that way. Lostine was fine with Rock, and she's the alpha mare. However, if I leave Rock alone with Bombay or Gabbrielle, B & G get so nervous being without their herd mates that they get excessively aggressive toward him. Rock is no pansy. He fights back. If I put him in with the whole herd, he's more likely to respect two horses chasing him off than just one, B & G feel less threatened, and there is less contact.

Grey Horse Matters said...

You're right. Sometimes you just have to say no and make schedules work for you not against you. I've learned this over the years. After all you're paying them so they should accommodate you.

I think the herd will accept Rock soon. He seems really sweet.

My dog Murphy had an operation not long ago and instead of the "hard" plastic cone of shame they gave him a soft floppy one. It worked out very well. You might want to ask about that. There's a picture of him on my site with it on if you're interested.

Dreaming said...

Wow! I missed a lot while I was out of Internet range! Rock sure is handsome!
Isn't it amazing what a good farrier can do? I think the science of dealing with horses' hooves has come such a long way.

Sam said...

What kind of saddle did you end up looking at? I'm in the process of buying one to fit Baron, and am not having a lot of luck finding one that doesn't interfere with his shoulders.


Rising Rainbow said...

Hmmm, that's worrying to me. Sounds to me like the potential for two males competing over females. The bad thing about it is people don't usully recognize it until it's too late. But that's why we never turn a mare or mares out with multiple males. Gelding or not, they will still compete for female attention and it can get expensive and even deadly. Lots of people will dismiss this comment as an untruth but I know from first hand experience. I witnessed my mare being killed by a jealous gelding. Be careful.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sam - I wanted to go with a different brand from my other two saddles that don't fit Rock, but should, according to templates and measurements. I'm going to try a Tex Tan.

Unfortunately, the package that I thought was the saddle turned out to only weigh 5 pounds, so it's the saddle pad. I still haven't received notification that the saddle itself is in transit.