About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ADD thoughts

So, I blame this post on too much coffee!
But, I've had some thoughts swirling inside my head, so I am deciding to purge them onto paper, er blog.
So, here it goes.

Coconut Oil.
BIG fan of it. In fact, I'm obsessed with the Coconut as a whole; the nut, the oil, the water...but for myself.  How does this translate to my furried Equine?
 Last night it sprung to me, perhaps I should have some Coconut Oil at the barn.
Why you ask?
For treatments of thrush and bruising for Laz's tender tootsies. It's natural, relatively inexpensive and why the frick not? I'm going to give it a go...Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Anyone else want to weigh in on this? 

As climates and seasons are swiftly changing, I am moving on to....Blanketing
For those that live in the cooler climates (we are in SE Michigan) when do you blanket your horse?
Or do you?
I struggle with this EVERY year.
Laz's current living situation; he has the choice to be outside roaming his 6 acres (about half that now as two of the fields are being preserved for Spring/Summer) and is able to walk into any of the large stalls (3) and under the lean to.
So he has great protection. He is very happy with his herd and they all allow each other in the space and even sometimes I find two of them in one stall grooming each other.
His fur coat is THICK, but he is an OTTB and was Florida bred, so I do worry he isn't warm enough. With his fur, it's sometimes easy to think he's fatter, but ribs are EASILY felt although he's NOT thin currently.
Especially in the last couple of days, where it's been raining, sleet, some snow and about 36 degrees to 23 at night.
Once I put his winter blanket on, it's kinda ON through the winter. I give him random days off without it but it flattens the hair so much that it leaves him cooler than when before I blanketed him.
So, hence the back and forth of "Do I...don't I?"
Now, on cooler days when it's damp...I worry his wet fur won't keep him warm especially if he chooses to not stand inside and dry off like a good pony should.
For the last week, I've just been watching him; making sure he's eating/drinking/pooping like normal and checking his ears/muzzle for warmth.
The general rule is if they have enough hay, they will keep themselves warm without a blanket, and have access to shelter to get out of wind/rain/snow.
That assumes;
A. they don't eat up all their mass amount of hay that I shove in front of them all day/night long, we don't do round bales.
B. they choose to stand in shelter to get out of elements...we all know that sometimes we question their brain ability to choose what we WANT to be the right choice.
Pouring rain=Laz standing out in it by choice grazing around. UGH
A little wind=Laz standing in his stall acting as though Lions are in the field
So, I have a hay net (large-fits about 4-6 flakes of hay) that I stuff full of hay. He shares that with two others, and in addition to that, Laz gets 8 flakes of hay a day.
But it's not 24/7 grazing...
He is still naked as of now (Gasp!) but I have my blanket in my car ready to spring into action....which may be soon!
I want to hold out as long as possible as long as he's warm and comfortable...and if he was on my own property I could run out and check on him and assess the needing it or not.
Alas, he's not in my backyard, so I have to plan 1, 2 days ahead as I go out to the barn pretty much every other day.
I am more concerned with having him blanketed and being too hot vs too cold
We are past the rain sheet in weather, that has no fill and would probably just make him colder (ie flattening out his hair) but would keep him dry.
See..the insanity?
Am I the only one laying awake at 4 am thinking of this?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I sayz...

"So I sayz..I duno why She putz rain sheetz on me. I sayz I wud just stay insiDe."
"Take offs!!"
"Ya..muc bettr"
 "nnn also give me Curots."
"Noooowwww CUROTS!!"
 "Now I dazzel u wif my shinee gud looks"
 "Ok, we can Ride BUT I still a RetireD stuD Hors!
YES I IS...ok, finE.."
"wate UP MaySon!! U r MY Doggggie"
"Ok, now u are OFF mez...GIVE ME CUROTS n mazzage me plez!!"
 "Ahhh yaaaa thats it"

 "I is so Hapee"

 "Mom stopz flahshen me! 
I dunt care about your new fun fone...why did u spend my Carots monies???"

 "So I stix my tunge out!"
"Okee I stanz by gate so u use your FinGers and opin gate so I eatz grassss"

 "Can't u hearz me MOm?? Grazzzzzz!!"
"Anuther Hairee wormie thingee...why you Care abut wenter so muc?
It's guna snow Okayyy, lotz. 
Getz ofur it."

"I show u hairee ...Sau halo to my leetle friends!"

 "Hapee ThankSgiveeng!!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Just relaxin'

Ack! It actually snowed last Thursday.
Only for a few minutes but poo.
I stuffed the hay net and all three horses ate together peacefully

 Really...all quiet. 
Ideally, I'd like another net, but maybe for Xmas

"Oh good! Come heres, I open door fur you...mmmMM..gemme cookiez!"
"How u do dis?"
Um, I use my thumbs and fingers Laz...step aside.
After his BP mix of goodness was chowed down, I treated Laz to a few Masterson Massages.
Goo mouth
I worked on his hind legs which he TOTALLY allowed me to do (small circles in each direction, and s.l.o.w.l.y. stretching his hinds back/forth) and some neck bends. His neck is STIFF
But, as you can see...major releases
After I worked on him, I just allowed him to roam around with us in the front pasture
He would follow me, go off on his own, return for some snuggle time...

And then was intrigued by Mason and I playing Frisbee...for a minute or two
Mason: "What the........THAT's MY Frezbee Hors!!!"
Turning Laz back out with his herd of two..I followed him to watch him move naturally
I've been applying Keratax to his hooves for over a week now which I think has helped his comfort. 
Hmm..below shows how he still favors to walk toe first on his Club. (Right Front)
I'm not convinced I've got that Thrush totally gone...with that hoof being taller it seems to be harder to zap out. 

He shows some independence still, when he stops and grazes at the top of the pasture hill.
He never screams out at the other horses when I'm working with him, and they are off doing their own thing, BUT as soon as I'm done with him, he wants to be with his buddies.
To me, that is a happy horse sign

He decides to join them down below and takes off in a trot
Which leads into a Donkey Trot
And settles into a little canter
I guess he didn't hear the Vet when she said, just take it easy with him for the next few months and let's let that sole grow and harden.

 I've called the Chiropractor (who I think also does Acupuncture-SCORE!) and hope to get that scheduled for Laz soon.  I want to help his neck/back atrophy and in hopes of healing his hoof health, along with his muscle/joint health, get a more rounded out strong topline.
I'm going to use these next winter months for Laz as though he's in physical rehab. Slight slow work (2-3 vet approved walk rides in pasture a week), massages, adjustments, etc in hopes that Spring brings out a healthier than ever Lazarus.

Xray follow up

Well, it's official.
I'm a HOOF nerd.
It's Friday evening, and all I can think about are Laz's tootsies.
And I love it!

Ok, to the good stuff.
I met with my Vet this morning to review his Xrays.
It was all very good news in the fact that she is confident that I'm on the right path and I can get him to soundness (or more sound).

Cue the confetti and brass musicians!!!!

I can't tell you HOW nervous I always get when reviewing xrays but it's getting better each time.
She even loaned out the xrays to me so I can review with my Trimmer which is SO great. 
Vet did NOT see infection although she said she wouldn't be surprised to see abscessing happening in his future due to his thin sole/bruising.  
Just in general, a bit of an unhappy, transitioning foot. Not a miserable foot...just unhappy right now....but it's hopefully temporary as it grows.
Our goal is to BUILD up that sole.
It looks thicker from the side view...

 In below xray, you can see he still is rotated slightly bi-laterally..to be expected.
However, here you can also see (although hard b/c this is me holding the xrays up to my bathroom window..so image is grainy due to window texture) how thin the sole is.
She said like a smidge thicker than paper thin.
 We need to build it up.
So, HOW?...
I was relived that she didn't push "STALL 24/7" treatment because I just won't do that to him.
She said, pick/clean daily. Put combo of 1:1 ratio of 7-10% iodine mixed with alcohol on sole/hooves to dry out and keep moisture out.
It's a bit of a challenge now with rain/mud season but his pastures are pretty dry actually.
With snow coming, she felt it's actually a drier wet and shouldn't be a problem.
She'd rather him be barefoot than in a boot or even a homemade plastic diaper filled with "No Trush" with duct tape boot. She feels the sweat within an encased boot/bootie will be more moist than just free. Well, that is WAY easier on me!! AND, I won't have to worry about heel bulb rubbings, thrush, etc.
She likes Laz's diet and wants me to add MSM to his beetpulp, and Isoxophrine  for vessel opening to encourage circulation and aid in healing. For the Isoxophrine, I'm leaning more towards using the herb Jiaogulan for Laz.  
Vet feels Laz is in NO daily pain other than 'feeling' his hoof's bruise, but didn't feel he needed any Bute/Equioxx, etc. HOOORAH!!! 
She does want me to bump his grain (Triple Crown L/S) a bit for  more rib coverage. For those that think Laz looks chunky, it's JUST a fiber belly! ;)
Vet wants me to remain massaging him (Go Masterson!!) to help circulation and she saw how Laz LOVES it (I did a quick demo). She also wants me to add Chiro to help with his overall body stiffness.
And...give Laz TIME. Time to grow that sole.  She said to constantly check the hoof, and if it seems thicker in a matter of a few month, to do another xray.  Basically, reconnect to check and see how things are going and maintain.

I just want to say, this new Vet for us, so far has been GREAT. Open to my comfort level to how I chose to keep my horse (barefoot and out) and open to discussing things with my trusted Trimmer, and very compassionate of how Laz and I are as a team.  So far, it was a great switch.
She also checked his teeth and thought he in fact did not need a floating and she'll check him in Spring-so I am postponing that for now.  She also gave me free Flax seed from a client that gave it to her. Score!

Ok, now for some comparisons of how Laz rotated.
His rotation wasn't typical ..his were LATERALLY (to the side, medially (meaning inward towards each other, in his hind legs only) with also a downward tip rotation.
Right Hind (RH) being the worse and what is on all xrays here.

Below-the far left TWO are from FEB 2010

 Below are from JUNE 2011-Front view
Note how he's more balanced side to side
Below, our latest NOV 2011
Great balance..although now we are dealing with MEGA thin soft sole

My theory...UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNTRAINED..keep in mind.
I think when we switched to barefoot, it was our #1 step in healing. No doubt.
Laz had built a lot of false sole, possible overlaid bars to 'protect' his sole/hoof/from penetration. His body's way of protecting it. However, left on too long it also became a hindering pressure. Like walking on a stone, constantly. So in removing it (starting this past June) and alleviating some pressure, that underneath material was soft and like a baby thin nail. Hopefully by allowing him to heal, altering his diet and putting him on some natural remedies and giving him TIME, his sole/hoof will grow.

Thoughts? Questions? Confused? 

I'm popping open some Champagne tonight and celebrating this tiny step forward!
Any NON bad news, is GOOD news to me!

Go Team Laz! (which happens to be an all female team except for Laz, lol!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Xray/Vet appt-Part 1

Upon my arrival at the barn, this morning.
What a happy site to see. Hay stuffed ponies sunbathing...

 I've seen this scene a few times now. Laz and Justin (the WB/Paint x) napping with Red, the other OTTB watching over.

 "Ohhh cookie Laydee is here! Time to Roll and get ektra durty"
 Eesh, neck muscles not looking good.  I made a mental note to ask my new Vet about it.
Laz impersonating a snorting Elk
So, our Vet arrived and we got talking (as she's only met us now twice) about where we are at, what we are concerned with and what we want to accomplish.
As I was explaining Laz's past....... I started to cry. 
 I felt so embarrassed but when I talk about what he's been through, it just gets me. 
Any way, she was there for 2 hours and gave us a VERY thorough exam.  She writes down her thoughts, recommendations, etc so I can review after our appt too, which is so great.
We took xrays of the RH only (she agreed I didn't need them on his Club foot and she thought his Club wasn't as bad as I thought..whew).  
These are non digital xrays so I don't have results yet.
We will talk results, review images and formulate our plan in the next day or so.
I love a good plan...so I'm hopeful there is one that is doable.

Hoof tester on his RH was almost a joke. His sole is so soft that she barely had to squeeze with one hand.  She was very concerned about that, as both my trimmer and I are-hence why I brought the Vet in.  
I don't know what our next steps are yet, she didn't want to tell me our path BEFORE reading our Rads.  She smiled and said "I know you are a nervous Nellie so I don't want to tell you anything until I know for sure" 
Is it that obvious? 
I kid...I know it is.
I hope whatever the plan is, it sits comfortable with me.
I'm anti-shoeing him although she assured me NO SHOES and in his soft foot case, she said, no shoe would help anyway.
I'm anti-stalling him to dry out his feet...
I'd rather boot him in a duct taped boot than stall him....I don't know if that will be discussed so I'm jumping the gun here.
Ultimately I decide what is best for him, after collecting my information.

Before our xrays, she did a general lameness analysis on him.
Walk-strides evenly, left shoulder inward towards me.  She had me switch side leading him to see.  She thought shoulder was still wonky.
Trot-Very lame. :(   But I know this
RH rolls hip and hock, both hinds paddle out, left shoulder out. RH stifle weak
LH stifle over working, LH hoof good shape, stronger but overall all hooves too moist.
Not great news...but nothing I didn't know.
Neck flexation-stiff. 
This I know. 
I do a ton of Masterson Massage on him and he really struggles with the neck bends. She said his whole body is off due to compensating for his RH.
That's obvious...so she recommended a Chiro whom I will contact to help him out as we resolved his hoof problem.
Recommended putting him on MSM immediately to help with overall joint health. 
(already ordered)  actually need to talk to Vet about MSM and it's issues with effecting mineral balancing and selenium.
Recommended using a daily cleaner on his hooves of 1:1 ratio alcohol and 7-10% iodine to help dry out hoof and keep clean.
She blocked his RH (right hind in case you don't know what I'm referring too) for the xray and to test his lameness again once he was blocked. 
Not a huge difference, but she was able to tell what parts of him are sore due to his RH being compromised.
She thought his weight looked good. He has a hay/fiber belly but he needs more rib coverage and she thought his neck did look thin. She told me to up his Triple Crown L/S to see if that helps.
As we get to the bottom of fixing him (hopeful still) his muscle and balance should work itself out, slowly.
She commented on how shiny and soft his fur was..BONUS!
I asked "For a 10 yr old OTTB in post laminitic phase, does he look good??" 
She laughed and said yes.
Regarding Laz during the exam;
Angle boy.
Stood stoically still during blocking, for xrays, for general exam, was perfect for the 2 hours we fussed with him.  Trotted when he asked and even gave a few bucks and playful "I'm not lame" performances. 
Nice try pal but it's too obvious.
After Vet left, he seemed to just want some cuddle rub time, so he got plenty of it.  
No more road walking for a while...Vet said his RH is just too soft and that will continue to bruise the hoof and set us back.  No problem, it's now off our to do list.
I hope we get decent results with the xrays and a plan of "To Do's" that we are all happy with to get this boy back to sound.
He deserves it.

In non related Vet news; I hung Laz (and the others) our new Busy Horse hay net
It's a GREAT product and seems really durable
This is the large size that fits about 4-6 flakes of hay in it.
Perfect for colder days/nights. 
The BO's are cool with me stuffing it full in addition to his daily hay. Sweet!!!!
Here's how I hung it..pretty good for $6 and free labor via Husband
I hung one spot here, under stable lean to, so horses could nibble in wet conditions and I have a second hanging out in the field, in the open for nice days or to just switch it up location wise.

Just a BIG general thank you, to my readers...which many of you have become my friends.  Without your constant support, encouragement and knowledge, Laz and I surely wouldn't be here today.  
Thanks to Kate  for her 'how to hang' suggestions for the hay bag.
Thanks to J9 and Frizzle for their constant emails, phone calls of support, exchanging ideas, hoof thoughts, diet plans, on sale items, general listening with words of encouragement and compassion.
It's SO appreciated!!!