Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Now That I'm Once Again A Horse Owner...

  • I sleep with my cell phone next to my bed with the ringer turned on
  • My bank/credit card statements read something like this: Feed Store A, Valley Vet, Feed Store B, Vet A, Feed Store C, Vet B, Feed Store A, Feed Store B
  • I constantly have shavings in my hair, hay down my shirt, and horse hair (and occasionally gnats) up my nose
  • 98% of my jeans are now "barn jeans"
  • I get to channel all of my OCD energy into researching/micro-managing every aspect of my horse's care (yay!)
  • Let's not even talk about the state of my fingernails...
  • My exercise DVDs & equipment are gathering dust (who needs 'em when you're mucking stalls and hauling around 50 pound feed bags and 1,000-pound bales of hay in 90 degree weather?)
  • The farmer's tan has officially made its comeback
  • I say "Whoa" to my dogs if they pull on their leashes
  • The grocery list now reads: Peppermints, carrots, pumpkin seeds, aloe vera juice, more carrots, Tums, and maybe some food for me (and of course Diet Coke for the barn fridge!)
  • I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black & Blue And A New 'Do

Isn't this an idyllic scene? I love the rays of sunlight streaming through the branches and dappling Salem's back with bright pinpoints of light. It seems like a nice way to start this entry with something positive, since Salem's had it a bit rough lately. Last weekend, he had his third hoof trim (don't worry, I won't bore you with 250 pics of his hooves, like I usually do!), which went well but left him slightly gimpy.

This is his left front, which is looking a thousand times better than it did a month ago! It still isn't quite where it needs to be, but I see major progress. However, this poor little hoofie has a bruise at the toe, which was revealed during the trim. Apparently, the 18-mile long toe that he used to have torqued the hoof wall and pulled it away from the laminae further up the wall, causing the bruise.

It's a bit difficult to see on this cellphone pic, but the bruise is that reddish area by the white line. Candy gave me some arnica spray to help it feel better, but it just wasn't doing enough. Salem was looking quite ouchy the next day, so I packed both fronts with Magic Cushion and held it in place with the ever-classic Duct Tape Booties.

Stylish! I do love me a nice sparkly silver shoe. Unfortunately, these didn't last long. Salem somehow managed to wear through both toes, so I re-packed the toes and covered each hoof with Vetrap. That failed as well, so my last resort was Elastikon tape, which is holding up splendidly.

Are you bored yet? I know, this blog is not a very exciting read since I can't ride Salem yet. Hhhmmm, would you be amused if I attempted to give Salem a 'hawk and ended up butchering his mane horribly, and then posted a pic? Ok, good, you're in luck.

This picture does not do justice to the truly awful hack job that I did. It's completely jagged and crooked and ridiculous. And it still isn't standing straight up, despite the fact that it's all of an inch long!! Seriously, any tips from my fellow roachers out there? How do I get a wild, unruly, full-of-cowlicks mane to stand straight up and be even? Do I just shave it completely off and wait for it to grow out? Please, send me some advice because poor Salem looks like his mane was chewed off by a gang of drunken rats!

Well, at least Salem has a few perks in his life, like wandering around in this gorgeous grove and snacking on mouthful after mouthful of scrumptious grasses and weeds. Hopefully this (and ten pounds of carrots) will make up for the bad week he's having!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blue Pop Rocks From Vanuatu

I'm not a girl who's big on trends; I haven't seen any of the Twilight movies, I don't watch Gossip Girl or Glee or whatever the kids are watching these days, and I don't own a pair of skinny jeans. But I know a good deal when I see one, and when the COTH forum lit up about generic equine omeprazole (affectionately nicknamed "Blue Pop Rocks from Vanuatu" for reasons which will soon be apparent), I knew it was time to jump on the trend-train.

First off -- why do I feel they're necessary? Well, I first suspected Salem had ulcers when I saw this video (which was taken some time last winter, when he was in Illinois):

I have never seen Salem standing in his stall with pinned ears, and I have never seen him chewing wood. Since those are both potential signs of ulcers, I decided to treat him with omeprazole.

Before he was shipped down here, Salem got a tube of GastroGard, and once here he had a few days of UlcerGard. But I was in a bit of a dilemma -- both GG & UG are astronomically expensive and I'm no Rockefeller. A 28-day course of either costs around $1,000.*gulp*

Thank goodness for COTH, because so many people started posting about this generic enteric-coated omeprazole that's made in India. Depending on the size of your horse and whether s/he needs a treatment or prevention dose, the pop rocks are between 1/5 and 1/10 the cost of GastroGard. They will even send you a free trial of 20 packs so you can try it and see if your horse will eat it.

Now, I know some people are wary of buying foreign drugs, but since I myself have taken generic prescriptions drugs from India (who has a very well-run pharmaceutical industry), I was fine with giving Salem a bit of Indian omeprazole.

Anyone know how to flip a picture???

Blue Pop Rocks! This is one of the four packets that Salem gets each day

Again, sorry for the upside-down pic! I just wanted to show that each packet does indeed have a batch number, expiration date, etc.

Best of all, they must taste decent because I just plop them in a bucket
with TC Senior and Salem snarfs them up

While I never had Salem scoped to see if he indeed has ulcers, giving him omeprazole certainly won't hurt him if he doesn't. So, worst case scenario -- nothing. I shall report back in a month and let you know if I see any difference!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No Fly Zone

For many of you, fly season is just gearing up; but for those of us in the swamp of Florida, it has been upon us for months. My fellow boarders and I have tried every commercially available fly spray under the (very hot) sun and couldn't find one that worked for more than five minutes (nope, not even Endure or Ultrashield). So, we began experimenting with making our own; we started with the following recipe:

1 cup water

4 ounces Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 ounce Eucalyptus oil

1 ounce Citronella oil

Surprisingly, it has worked better than any of the other sprays. And, it's actually good for the skin/coat -- the apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal and the Skin So Soft adds moisture. However, I wasn't content to stop there, so I read the labels of some of the natural fly sprays and decided to add a few drops of each of the following to our mix:

Peppermint Oil

Rosemary Oil

Lemongrass Oil

It smells amazing, makes the coat sparkle, and most importantly it actually repels bugs. And honestly, it's kind of fun to sit in the barn aisle with various bottles, oils, measuring cups, etc., conjuring up the anti-bug brew. I haven't added eye of newt yet, but I will if it repels bugs!

In my next mix, I just might add a few new oils, such as:

Clove Oil

Pennyroyal Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Do any of you make your own fly spray? If so, what's your recipe? Or do you find that one of the commercial mixes works for you?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spaaaaaaaahhh Day

With most of us, our horses live far better than we do. That was certainly the case on Friday, when Salem had a full day of spa treatments and pampering.

He started off with an hour-long massage, which he absolutely loved. His whole right side was stiff and locked up, and while Candy (his trimmer, who is also a certified equine masseuse) was massaging him he would prance and fight and then suddenly sigh and let out a biiiiiiiig long yawn, complete with eye rolling. He must have yawned at least twenty times, and there was plenty of licking/chewing and big sighs, as well. I wish I had some pics, but I had pony-holding duties so no such luck.

After his rub-down, Salem went back to his paddock/stall for a bit in case he needed a drink (alas, the spa didn't even provide iced lemon water) and a little mental break. Then it was back to the aisle for his mani/pedi, which he desperately needed despite the fact that his hooves were just done two weeks ago. (Get ready for a slew of before/after photos -- yes, I am somewhat obsessed with Salem's hooves!)


Hinds (look at all that chipping!)

Left front (tons of flaring, separation, and retained sole)

Right hind

Left hind

Right front

I didn't take the "after" pics until Sunday, so his hooves look a bit different. But they're still much, much better than they were!

Left front

He still has some chipping/cracking on the hinds; unfortunately, Candy just couldn't
get it all off without taking too much hoof. So, we're going to do another
trim in two weeks and then hopefully we can get back on the normal
5-week schedule. In the meantime, I will Keratex and rasp to keep
the chipping at bay

Left hind

Right front

Right hind

After his mani/pedi, Salem and I took a long stroll through the grove; when we came back to the barn, Salem had his final spa treatment, a shower and Refreshmint/water rub-down. And while he didn't have cucumbers on his eyes and never got to wear a fluffy white robe, I'm willing to bet that Salem heartily enjoyed his relaxing spa day. Ok, now when's mine? :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We all know I'm obsessed with OTTBs; and while Salem is 100% Thoroughbred, he is 0% off-track. So, I would like to clear something up. Several months ago, a friend told me, "Don't say anything, but apparently Salem really was at the track and raced, like, 40-some times." This is completely false. But I decided to do a little sleuthing and see if I could figure out how someone could come to such a conclusion.

Of course, the place to look up TB info is equibase.com, so I headed over to the site and typed "Wingman" (Salem's previous name) into the search box. This is one of the horses who popped up in the results; he's a bay Thoroughbred gelding named Wing Man who is only 2 years older than Salem and indeed has 46 starts under his belt...er, girth. I can certainly see how a person not totally familiar with Thoroughbreds could come to the conclusion that this horse is Salem.

However, here's how I know that it absolutely 100% without a doubt is not Salem: Salem doesn't have a tattoo! And every Thoroughbred who even sets a hoof onto the track is tattooed. They simply can.not.race without getting inked. In fact, my old horse Mac spent some time being track-trained as a 2-year but didn't start in a single race; but since he was at the track, he was tattooed. Even if you discount the fact that Salem was born in Ocala not New York, or that he was born in 2004 not 2002, the lack of a tattoo is the smoking gun that proves Salem is not the "Wing Man" listed on equibase.com.

The fact that he didn't race doesn't diminish Salem one bit in my eyes; in fact, I'm very glad that his big joints were spared from all the rigors of racing. I'm sure I'll own another OTTB sometime in the future, but for now I'm quite happy with my non-OT TB.