Monday, May 31, 2010

Bastian 3 Vet 0

Well, the vet did not show up yet again on Thursday.  There was another emergency.  I might have been able to handle that information if the vet had felt that it would be good customer service to call and inform me that he was either going to be late again or he needed to reschedule.  The fact that I had to contact him 2 hours and 15 minutes after my appointment time to see if he was till coming or not is NOT good customer service. 

Not only that but to have emergencies three appointments in a row?  It may be legit, but something doesn't seem right to me.  My theory is that I wasn't a big enough $$$ client to really matter to him.  Which in the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman:  "Big Mistake.  Huge."

So now I have an appointment at Cleveland Equine Specialty with Dr. Genovese (no idea how to actually spell his name), the Dr. House of Equine Lameness.  I'm hoping that he'll ultrasound and x-ray and say "Well your problem was ___________, but because of the length of time he's been off and the extraordinary care you've given it is mostly healed and he can start back into work..."  Wishful thinking I know, but a girls gotta hope. 

In the meantime, here is Bastian's opinion on his whole lameness induced vacation:

I've continued to ride him at the walk and he's doing well.  I figure by the end of this I had better be scoring 9s and 10s on my working walk, free walk and halts since I am spending 25 minutes a day mastering them.  LOL
On a pretty much nothing to do with my horse note:  I'm getting a puppy on Monday.  I reserved a puppy this past December and have been waiting oh so patiently for her to be born and grow  up enough so I can bring her home.  So on Monday I travel to Columbus OH to pick her up.  Meet Magnus D. Doodle, a cream labradoodle pup:
So cute!!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Tomorrow will make an official five weeks since Bastian's lameness debaucle began.  The vet did not make it out last week to ultra-sound his leg so I'm still not 100% sure what we are actually dealing with, we stepped up his care just a notch, instead of cold hosing for 15 minutes I was instructed to ice his leg for 30 minutes a day and to continue to handwalk.  My vet appointement for tomorrow is at 3:30 so I have to skip out of school a few minutes early (kids leave at 2:15, I'm supposed to stay until 2:45, but I'll leave by 2:30 instead, no biggie)

~~Just a side note on that subject, only 4 days of regular classes left followed by four half days of finals then its summer vacation!! WOOT ♥ ~~

Check out that sweet icing apparatus!  Sweatpants, suspenders and vet wrap.  This also further proves that my horse is pretty darn awesome, he didn't bat an eyelash at any of this! 

So I'm hoping that what he sees is something minor or something that is on its way to being pretty well healed.  I lunged him for just a moment on Friday and he looked great, very sound.  Which is good because he is so super bored.  The poor young boy has been locked up in his stall for five weeks, no turn out, no friends and just super slow handwalks with me, he is so ready to go back to work.  Today instead of hand walking I decided I would ride him at the walk instead so he would actually get to move out a bit instead of crawling along beside me. 

So I get him tacked up and inform Beth one of the other boarders about what I'm doing and if she hears any screaming or odd noises from the indoor that she needs to come and rescue me.  I walk him into the arena, step him through the doors and go to pull the doors shut and he rears.  Rears.  He has never in his 6 years reared.  I yell at him and he lands and takes off at a gallop.  He gallops 3/4 of the way around the area with a few bucks thrown in for good measure, comes around the 3rd corner and sees me and stops.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was totally like "Um, I wasn't supposed to do that huh?  Ahh, sorry??"

Did I mention that the doors on the other side of the arena were open and that Wendy saved my butt by getting them closed before Bastian flew by them?  Oh yeah, it was great start to my time at the barn today.  I considered not getting on him, I don't need to be on top of him he decides to have a "ImnotinmystallandI'mgonnarunnaroundmoment! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"  But I did get on, again major thanks to Wendy who held him at the mounting block (he didn't try anything, but better safe than sorry!) and again when my 20 minutes was up she held him while I slid down.  He was awesome while I rode though, I wasn't really asking for anything but he was looking for the bit and mainted a wonderful light contact with just a bit of roundness.  He was all "yes, we're doing something, we're riding, we're......walking."  he was ready to do more, but  we stuck to the walk. 

Then I iced that leg that he used to tear around the arena on, brushed him some more and gave him some yummy Tooty-Fruity hard candies from Daffin's Chocolates.  So it ended well despite Bastian's (understandable but not acceptable) explosion.

I've had five weeks to come up with a new plan should my pony decide to be sound and healthy for the remainder of the summer.  So here goes.  I am focussing on the dressage.  Between having a lame pony and much less funding than I had expected, dressage is my main focus.  I want to go to Regionals.  I want to do well.  With that being said, my first event should he be sound is......

  • South Farm HT: Starter Division (2')  July 4th  
  • NODA Schooling Dressage Show at Grand Haven July 11th
    • Training 4
    • First 4
  • NODA Dressage Show and Encore Show July 24th and 25th at Grand Haven *regcognized*
    • Training 4
    • First 4
  • Hickory Creek Judged Trail Ride July 31
  • WPDA Summer Sizzler  Dressage Show August 14th and 15th at Grand Haven *recognized* (only if I haven't already gotten my qualifying scores)
    • Training 4
    • First 4
  • Grand Haven Dressage Schooling Show August 22nd 
    • Training 4
    • First 4
  • South Farm HT:
    • BN (not me showing him! LOL)
  • Grand Haven Dressage Schooling Show October 3rd
    • Training 4
    • First 4
  • Region One Dressage Championships in Williamston, NC November 11-14
    • Training 4
    • First 4
There may be some hunter shows smattered in there if the opportunity presents itself and things work out, but the plan has changed drastically from just puttering around and dabbling our feet in everything to focusing on our dressage.  (did you notice a pattern with the dressage?)  I may end up going to different dressage shows, it just depends.  I chose Grand Haven because I don't have to get a hotel, I don't have to find someone to watch my puppies, etc. etc.  Its only about 30 minutes from the barn.  So we'll see how things go and where we end up, but its dressage all the way.  Which means I need to get another pair of white breeches.......

Wish us luck with the vet tomorrow!! ☺

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the answer is......

Finally the vet was able to make it tonight, although he was nearly 3 hours ahead of schedule this time.  By the time I made it to the barn, he had already begun his examination.  Which although I realize he had to get started, I was sad about because I like to be there for everything, I'm not always so good about simply hearing information, I want to see it.  Show me the problem, let me feel the muscle/bone/cut/problem. 

Anyway, he looked marginally better on the lunge, but was still off in the right front.  The vet gives me two options:
  • Option A: Give him some more time and see what happens since he seems to be getting better.
  • Option B:  Start Blocking the foot and leg and see what we come up with.
I choose Option B.  We've had a bit of an issue with on again/off again lameness in the front feet, I'd like to know if there is an underlying condition.  So let the blocking begin!

Block 1: The heel and parts of the hoof.  Lunge, no change.
Block 2: The coffin joint.  Lunge, no change. 
Block 3:The fetlock.  Lunge, teensy change for the better.   
Block 4: Behind the knee.  Lunges sound. ☺

So we had to slowly work our way up.  The vet suspects it is the either a suspensory or check ligament injury.  He does not suspect that it is overly bad considering the lack of outward signs along with the fact that Bastian has been improving, albeit slowly. 

He will be returning on Monday to perform an ultra sound on the leg to hopefully confirm this.  It would be nice if this is all that it is, stall rest and time will clear this up, even though it means once again missing out on a show season.  It just wasn't meant to be this year I guess. 

This was my first dealing with a vet at my new barn and overall I liked him.  It is my understanding he works with a lot of racehorses/trotters/pacers, so I expect him to know his way around a lameness, which I think he showed quite well tonight. 

Those that know me know that I like to be right in the thick of the blood and pus when it comes to vet stuff and either my horse or other people's horses.  So although initially I don't think he was sure about me when I told him I like to be told everything that is going on and get explanations, I felt like by the end we were developing a good working relationship.   I know my antomy, I know my basics about muscles, bones, and whatnot so I think the fact that I didn't ask those kinds of questions made a big difference.

Overall I liked him.  So Bastian is on indefinite stall rest, right now he is wrapped up.  The blue vet wrap leg is the vet's leg and the white puffy wrap is my leg.  I sprayed his vet wrap leg with Wrap Last as he has a thing about eating his wraps, he has already destroyed one set of no-bows.  My directions until Monday are to cold hose, hand walk and wrap.  Easy and cheap.  And I'm supposed to give him a gram of bute a day. 
Flowers, well wishes and monetary donations (hey, this was no cheap date! LOL) can be sent to Bastian care of me.  ☺

We'll just have to see what Monday brings........  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cowgirls don't cry ♪♪

The fluxuation of life right now has been positively squirrely.  Things are starting to pile up and without the stress reliever of getting to ride Bastian, I too am getting more and more snarky and just a little down in the dumps.  Life goes on however, and in the words of Brooks and Dunn, cowgirls don't cry.  Its that simple. 

Bastian is still off without any visible signs.  He was supposed to see the vet tonight, but the vet was held up at his previous clients and was unable to make it.  So now the vet is coming on Thursday.  Maybe by then I won't need a vet and Bastian will have made a miraculous recovery.  A girl can hope, right? 

Due to a major and I mean major snafu with the bank, my show season has also been cut right down.  With Bastian being unsound its not that big of a deal, but I was so stinkin' excited about this year and now, well, I'll be lucky if I get to go to just two or three local shows instead of the rather hefty list I had posted earlier.  Again, cowgirls don't cry.  (have you noticed a theme yet?)

But enought depressing stuff, on to the fun!  With Bastian being off, I was unable to take him to the dressage schooling show at Grand Haven this past saturday.  I wasn't going to get my entry fees back anyway so one of the trainers at the barn, Tawny, let me take one of her sales horses in Bastian's place.  Meet Goer, a lovely 12 year old chestnut gelding.

Now I won't ride just any horse.  The horse has to be 100% safe and I have to feel 100% safe riding it.  Goer is a saint, I think he even beats out Bastian's safety rating, if only because of age and experience.  This will be Bastian at age 12. 

Let me begin by saying the weather was dismal.  Positively dismal.  It was 43 degrees (and yes I was riding in a short sleeve polo), 40 mph gusts of wind with about 25-30 mph wind happening the rest of the time.  Needless to say there were a lot of scratches that day.  Beth, another boarder at the barn went with me to help groom.  So she got Goer ready for me and I mounted up.  I was hesitant for the first few minutes and for the first lap around the warm up ring.  I didn't know how Goer was going to react to the crazy weather conditions.  He didn't bat an eyelash, so I was able to relax.

This was not the first time I had ridden Goer, but it was the first time I had ridden in over two weeks, and was, I believe only the 6th time I had ever ridden Goer.  When I had ridden him before I was just kind of messing around, enjoying getting to ride a different horse and get a different perspective, we had never actually practiced any of this stuff.  Nor had I ever actually practiced (or even looked at) Training Test 4 or First Level Test 4.  Goer warmed up wonderfully and we rode our first test, Training Level 2. 

It rode very nicely and we scored a 63.2%
Our second test was First Level 4.  This test rode fairly well too I thought, although I felt the judging was a bit harsh at time, but what are you going to do?  I'm still esctatic about it. We scored a 56%.  Just imagine if I had practiced! LOL

Our last test was ridden during the height of the storm with some hail and vertical rain, some of the arena blew over during our test and I rode too hastily, I needed to just slow down.  I was already soaking wet, rushing my test wasn't going to change that.  It was Training Level Test 4, we scored a 57%.  Had I just taken a breath and not rushed I believe it would have been better.  But it was still a great day despite the weather and I am very thankful that I was able to take Goer.  He is a champ, whoever ends up with him will be very pleased indeed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Paging Dr. House.....

Okay, seriously, Bastian is 3-legged lame, he's been off for two weeks now and actually seems to be getting a bit worse. No heat.  No swelling.  His legs look great. 

Lets review the facts:
  • I go out out to ride him two weeks ago.  He feels fabulous and we have a great ride for 45 minutes.  Then out of nowhere, he's lame.  Not too bad, but definitely off.  It seems to be his LF.  So after untacking and a little exploration, I find his lovely hoof rubs and there is a tiny bit of heat in his heel.  Eventually I come to the conclusion that he most likely just clipped himself really good with his hind foot, which has a shoe on it.
  • I'm convinced that putting shoes on him will fix everything.  He is wearing his heels funky anyway so this should level the playing field.
  • Wednesday comes, no farrier.  Friday comes, no farrier.  Finally just this past Wednesday, on the 5th, Bastian gets his new shoes. 
  • I go out to hopefully have a lesson, I figure I'll just saddle up and find out if he's lame from up top, but I am thinking he won't be because of the new footwear, the fact that he lunged about 98% sound the night before, and he had bute the night before and that morning.  Alas, I was wrong.  Lamer, and now its the RF.
  • *sigh*
  • He continues to be lame.
  • Since the intial minimal heat in the heel, no heat. 
  • No swelling, bruises, or abscess. (I totally used Cindy's patent Abscess-finder wrap and nada).
Possibly significant:
  • Three times in the past  couple of days, he has spooked while I was working on his right side.  Its always while I was doing something with his feet/legs.  Once was while polo wrapping his RH (on the day he went off) but I think that was because my grooming bag fell off the barrel.  Then the other two times were random while I was poking around his RF, I can say with complete honesty that he does not spook at anything on the cross ties.  Heck, he barely spooks when there should be something, a trait I really like in him because I can't move fast enough to get out of the way if a horse spooks when I'm around it.  So it is odd behavior that makes me think maybe something neurological is involved?
Okay team!  Go to to, give me some diagnosis!

Seriously, I am grasping at straws right now.  My horse can be lame all he wants, I just want to know why so I can make him better!

I'm going to have the vet look him over on Monday, maybe he can shed some light on the situation.

I'm still going to my dressage schooling show tomorrow.  A wonderful trainer at the barn is letting me take one of her horses, Goer.  He's a 12 year old packer, I think that I'll have a good time at the show tomorrow, though I wish I was taking my handsome man.

Videos and pictures will be posted from the show :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shoeless Joe Bastian

*sigh*  This hasn't been my week horse-wise and yes, I totally realize in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing, this is a drop in the proverbial bucket, but still it makes me sad.

I finally made it back to the barn on Tuesday, saddled up and had a lovely ride.  Bastian's gaits felt huge and elastic, I was having trouble riding his trot, that is how good he felt.  Then all of a sudden, bam! 3-legged lame. :(

So I get him untacked and start looking for a cause, I find two lovely rub marks on his left heel and I also think that he may have clipped himself hard enough to bruise during the ride (which is I think the real reason for his lameness, the rubs weren't bothering him in and of themselves.  (I've had a few days to think this through now so my theory has evolved).  Here are his rubs:

So I discuss some options with different people and decide to go for front shoes, he is wearing the heel of his left foot way different than his right heel, so it was the right thing to do regardless.  Wednesday is usally the farrier day.  Not this week.  So I go back out and he is still shoeless and ouchy.  Friday has become the farrier day this week.  Except he didn't come out Friday either.  Again, I realize it is hardly the end of the world, there are a lot worse things that could be going on with my horse, but nonetheless I'm frustrated.  I've got my fingers crossed that  Monday will be the day and I can get some practice in before our dressage schooling show at Grand Haven on Saturday. 

In the meantime, I'm going to go through the quick rundown of my history.  (You're all enthralled, I can tell).  I've ridden for almost 20 years at this point.  I got my first horse, Goldie, when I was 12.  Goldie is an Arabian mare and is currently 30 this year, just like me.  Everyone should be as lucky to have as brilliant a horse as her as their first horse.  She was a handful, but she taught me so very much.  I started out showing western pleasure, switched to games and then (yay!!) to english, aka Hunters.  Arabians don't do well in the hunter ring in my area, which is heavily saturated with Quarter Horses and Paints. That isn't to say that we also didn't place because I had no clue about what I was doing, but to a certain extent, the deck was already stacked against us. 

I did some dressage with her back when I thought dressage meant riding a hunter equitation pattern.  I scored a 42% on my first ever training test (and was eliminated for using a Kimberwicke).  I took her Baby Novice when Baby Novice was the new division in eventing, she was a cross country machine, I couldn't have gotten her stopped for love nor money, we got eliminated on the first stadium fence  though because we refused it three times.  Stadium has since been my downfall.  I can't even remember how many fences I have jumped without her, as in she stayed safely on the take off side whilst I cleared the jump successfully alone with a not so pretty landing on the other side.   Here is one of our more successfull Hunter Hack classes.  Note how BIG I am and how tiny she is, I was too big for her from the start, which also did not help us in the show ring, I looked ridiculous.

So realizing how HUGE I was, I finally got the okay to look for a new horse from my parents.  I wanted something that would event, that was all I wanted to do, I loved cross country.  So I was thinking thoroughbred or draft cross.  I almost got an off the track thoroughbred, we had given the deposit check when my mom talked to someone and they scared her to death about off-the-track thoroughbreds, she called and put a stop payment on the check.  I was devistated, but who knows how it would have turned out.  I found an ad for a two year old percheron/morgan cross in the paper.  And my mom pulled me out of school without my dad's knowledge to go look at her.

We bought her that day, but had to pretend like we hadn't and bring my dad there that night to "look at her."  My mom bought me that horse.  I had purchased Goldie with my college savings ($600).  But my mom bought Darby for me.  That was the name she came with.  Eventually after two years, she became the Moose.  (I mean, just look at her noggin and you see the resemblence).  The Moose was a sweet, sweet, baby and I couldn't have gotten luckier for my first horse to break/train on my own.  Sadly, she never grew past 15.2 Hh and she was long.  I mean super long.  There was an extra 8-ish inches between her last rib and her hip.  In hands, she was 20 hands long back to front.  She was actually coming along really nicely and then I decided to take Goldie to college my senior year instead of the Moose and to let her have a few months off to just grow and mature.  She never quite came back right after that. 

I think she just lost so much muscling that to get her fit back to the point where she could compensate for the extra length in her back was just too much.  I did get the chance to event her BN once before I sold her.  This is the only jumping picture I have of her. You can really see the extra length in her back, look at all the space betweent he back of the saddle pad and the white pole on the jump, it looks like it should be two different horses.   She was so much fun to jump, she loved it.  But she was a freight train and would pull the dickens out of your arms. So my solution was to ride her in a chain combination bit for jumping.  It was pretty much the only way I could get her to come up and balance.  She currently belongs to a sweet lady who trail rides and occasionally leases her out to a 4-H member who wants to show. 

Next on the list was Melkor, aka Melvin the Mighty.  He was bought from a friend who had started out showing him as a hunter, then switched to contest riding.  Melvin was a sorrel appendix quarter horse and he was 14 when I bought him.  Correction.  My dad bought him for me.  He was a jumping machine, just point and shoot and he would get you to the other side.  Perfect.  He was also a conformational trainwreck.  He was under in the knee, knocked kneed, had small quarter horse feet, his hocks almost touched, etc. etc.  Basically you looked at him and said "Why?  How?  How can this horse possibly do anything?"  But he was so athletic despite that. 

But his heart was golden and he safely got me over more fences than I deserved, including at the height of our craziness, a 3'5" triple bar (at least a 5' spread), without even blinking.  Which was good, because after about three years he was completely blind in his right eye, so if he blinked goodness only knows he might have missed the fence.  This is us going Novice at EHSC, one of my favorite pictures, the jump was max height/width. 

We competed recognized at BN (7th place at Waradaca) and Novice (no placing, Erie Hunt and Saddle Club).  Melvin had a stopping issue, as in he didn't stop.  So again, I bitted up.  I used a double twisted wire gag.  After about a year of schooling I had him going in a slow twist D-ring, and at the end in a french-link loose ring.  So we worked our way through.  He's the one I miss the most.  I was just a few weeks away from taking him Novice at Difficult Run when he started landing funny off his jumps, just a little to the left.  I took him to Charlestown for x-rays and they revealed arthritic changes in both front fetlocks.  The vet gave me two choices.  Bute him and event for a year, then put him down because he'll be crippled or retire him and let him be happy.  So he was retired.  He eventually made quite a comeback in dressage work and was going very beautifully.  But I had too many horses and not enough $$$$$$ so he went to a new home.  He is currently owned by a lovely women who trail rides and positively adores him.  I still miss him and had his current owner not left such a strong impresion of love and caring on me, he would be back in my possession. 

Next on the list was Craige.  Crazy Craige.  He was a mistake from the start.  Melvin was still mine at the time, I didn't have a horse to ride/compete.  The barn manager approached me about a school horse we were getting in that would need to be re-schooled in order to be included in the lesson program.  He was a 6 (?? 7 maybe 8??) year old Irish Sport Horse Gelding.  Cool.  I had always wanted an awesome horse like that.  He had schooled through prelim eventing (cool again).  I was to take him on as my project and if he could be reschooled, he would be a lesson horse, if not, I had the option of a free and clear adoption. 

Now, just three sentences of background.  The same person who was donating Craige had donated another horse to the school, Colonel Mattox, a grey thoroughbred that had some serious mental issues and had evented through Training.  I had done a large portion of his reschooling (basically I thought he was awesome and had the guts to ride through his buck/spin/spooks) and he is now the best school horse they have.  I figured, Matt worked out, why wouldn't Craige?  Big Mistake.  Huge.
So, long story short.  There was a major debaucle over me adopting Craige.  Lies were told to me and I ended up purchasing him.  Again, big mistake.  Do not buy horses out of spite for liars.  (also, don't buy a horse because they are pretty)

Craige destroyed all the confidence Melvin had given me.  Craige broke my ankle.  I was in a jumping lesson, I got a titch ahead (all it took was a titch with him) he ducked out, I came off.  The result was a shattered fibula and a broken tibia.  I had to have corrective surgery and now have a steel plate and several pins in my right ankle. It took me three years to break through that things mental problems and convince him that working under saddle was okay.  He was really a gem on the ground and very sweet, but under saddle he would just panic and there was nothing you could do.  He was a rearer, but his rears were kinda slow motion so easy to stay with.  He spooked at everthing, but he was athletic and had the potential.  So sad. 

 I've got lots of great crazy Craige stories, including one where at a combined test he panicked halfway through our stadium (x-rails) and reared and backed up out of the ring.  The people running the show were nice and let me go back in with a friend and her horse who trotted with us as we finished the course.  By the end of our time together, he was going quite nicely.  He was sold to a woman who wanted him as a hunter, now she is just doing dressage with him and I look for them when I go to schooling and dressage shows, but haven't seen him yet.  He could be cute when he was being good.

And that is it until Bastian.  When I sold Craige I was horseless for a month (except for Goldie).  Then I found Bastian.  Two weeks after I had bought Bastian I came off of a friends horse and broke my back.  I had a burst fracture of my first lumbar vertabra.  I was life flighted to the hospital and had two surgeries within two days.  I am mostly okay, but nerves were severed that affect some different systems along with my feet.  I have no feeling in my left foot from about mid-calf down and limited feeling in my right.  I can't move my toes or my ankle on my left, its kinda just like dead weight.  Because I can't feel/use my ankles I don't have balance so standing still doesn't exist for me anymore, I have to be able to hold onto  something for support.  I am able to walk, but no jumping, running, skipping, hopping, or standing on tiptoe anymore.  If you've seen American Dad on Fox, I walk kind of like Roger the alien.  I've gotten strong enough that I don't need to use a cane anymore, but I do have to wear a brace on my left ankle or it just kinda rolls over and I lose my balance and trip more easily than normal people.   

This translates into my riding by not being able to always keep my stirrups or get them back again if I should lose them.  I also can't always control my lower leg properly, although I am making a huge effort to do so and am slowly but surely seeing the results of that effort. 

Then just a year and two months after that, Bastian spooked and my left foot got caught in the stirrup,  I came off the right side, but my foot didn't come out of the stirrup until it was on the opposite side so I had a rotational fracture of my femur on the left leg.  This was the most painful of them all.  The best part is that I was on a trail ride with a friend and had to give the ambulance directions on how to get back to me and then back out to the road once I was in the back.  So another surgery and another plate, this time in my femur/hip. 

Bad things come in threes, so I figure I'm set for the rest of my life because these three were bad.   I still get on my horse, although I'm quicker to get off if I think something is going to go wrong.  Lots of adjustments in training and behavior for Bastian and he tolerates it all.  He is a wonderful horse, even if he doesn't have shoes on.