Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abscess Aftermath

After Salem's abscess blew , I figured we were all in the clear--and, for several months, everything was just fine. Salem was looking fit and (reasonably) sound:

In fact, Salem was looking so good that in July my vet cleared him for riding. I cautiously started longeing him with a saddle and bridle to get him back into the swing of things. Good thing I know better than to get my hopes up, though, because the *day* before I was planning to get on his back for the first time in what feels like several decades, he came up slightly off on the left front.

Yep, it was the abscess hoof. As the empty abscess cavity had grown closer to the ground, the hoof wall underneath cracked because the cavity was a weak point in the wall. It was cracked from the cavity to the ground, and it was growing steadily wider. Huge crack in hoof = sore pony.

Pretty scary-lookin', yes? I emailed this pic to Candy and she was shocked at how much wider the crack had grown since she had last seen him. She told me to keep his flares rasped down so they wouldn't pull it  further apart, and keep him in his Cavallo boots.

About a week after he moved into the new barn, his hoof looked like this:

The wall was starting to chip, so I once again grabbed my rasp and cleaned it up as well as I could. Afterwards, I packed the whole hoof with Magic Cushion, wrapped it with Vetrap, and slapped his boots back on. (By the way, I had considered casting this hoof; didn't happen, but I found Techform casting tape, which is the exact same thing as Equicast only orders of magnitude cheaper.)

Slight improvement, and with Magic Cushion stuffed into the cavity to hold everything together

That brings us to Salem's last hoof trim a little over a week ago. Slightly off topic, but as I pulled into the barn, I glanced over to Salem's paddock and saw this:

One sleepy young boy lying in the shade for an afternoon nap--adorable! I love that he has relaxed and realized that he's safe and sound in his new home. I'm also loving the fact that he isn't isolated off in No-man's Land like he was at our last barn; his paddock is right up front where everybody can see him, and he can actually see most of his horsey neighbors from his paddock/stall. I think this move was a blessing in disguise.

Back to the hooves: Candy was pleased to see that the crack was superficial and had not extended beyond the first wall. There was also no infection present. All great news.

Another  month or two and this whole thing will (finally!) be completely grown out and gone. Which means Salem *should* be sound and I can finally start riding him again. I know better than to set my heart on it, but I am hopeful that it will happen. 

***The outer bands of Isaac have been hitting us the last few days, and we'll be getting the brunt of it Sunday around 9 am and continuing into Monday. I didn't put Salem's luggage tags on or draw on him with livestock markers, but I did leave his fly mask and leather halter on him, and booted him up in his Ecogold cross country boots for good measure. (I didn't even buy any emergency M&Ms, which is a good sign that I am really not too worried.) All the other horses are locked into the barn, but I decided to leave Salem's door open and let him choose if he wants to be in or out--the last thing I want to do is stress him more. Hopefully, he'll just be very wet but otherwise fine. Maybe I should have brought Salem some flippers and a snorkel, though, because as I write this I am listening to rain pouring down!***

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saddle Fitting Experts: Your Opinions, Please!

OK, let's cut right to the chase here. Does this saddle fit Salem? *crosses fingers* Pleasepleasepleaseplease  fit...

Of course, I am going to have someone look at this saddle in person to determine if it fits Salem well. Just looking for some general opinions here since I am woefully clueless about saddle fit. Fire away!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Next Chapter

Yes, that little dot is Salem in an actual pasture (something that is a rare find in this area)

Life is full of changes, and lately Salem's life has been jam-packed with them. There's been a lot of drama going on behind the scenes. here. :-)

 Back in January, my BO informed me that he had put the barn up for sale, but that it would take several months and not to worry because the new owners were going to keep everything the same, etc. That lead to much stress, anxiety, and confusion, but when the new owners took over in June, we were quite relieved--we all knew them and were thrilled to have them as our new BOs. That was short-lived, as they decided they didn't want to do part-board (which is what I, the OCD horse owner, have always done) and raised the full board significantly. I did a month of full board, but it just did not work out for us; so, the barn search was on.

As many of you know, looking for a place to keep your horse is pretty much THE worst, most stressful, difficult thing on the planet. For weeks, I felt like I was having eight heart attacks and three strokes a day. My "must-have" list for Salem's new home included:  

1. Either a stall with an attached paddock OR a paddock with a 3-sided shelter--Salem weaves when locked in a stall and walks the fence line when turned out. He's only content if he's in a paddock with the option of going into some kind of shelter (preferably with a fan!).
2. Part-board or at least a "modified part-board" where *I* provide all hay/grain. I am not interested in arguing to get my horse more hay, or the proper grain, or enough grain, blahblahblah. No thanks.
3. Somewhat in the vicinity
4. Affordable without having to sell organs, my soul, other *ahem* parts of my body etc.

Thankfully, the stars and planets aligned and I actually found exactly what I was looking for (thanks to my vet, who suggested it!). It's not fancy; it doesn't have an arena or a round pen or pretty, pretty landscaping, but it actually met all of my requirements. It's got good bones and charm and major potential. Best of all, I was told that Salem could have the "penthouse" suite, the very first stall on the end of the barn, with a nice paddock of his very own attached so he can come and go 24/7 as he pleases. 

Photo overload in 3...2...1...

Shipping outfit! Yes, I pad him up like the Michelin Man even for short (like maybe 2 mile) trips

Holding Salem is Stacy, who was kind enough to trailer us 
(thank goodness for nice people with trucks & trailers!)

Salem's new pad

"There's hay here; I approve."

Salem's paddock view from his stall

Now he really does have a velociraptor enclosure--with electric wire and everything.
We just have to lower the cow-in-the-crate in now :-)

Meeting the neighbors

One of the other perks of this property is the huge pasture--it's probably around 2 acres. I know some of you are in parts of the country where 50-acre pastures are the norm (or small!), but around here we usually have tiny little dusty paddocks totally devoid of grass. So, this pasture is like a giant emerald wonderland to us.

After a few days, I decided to let Salem loose in the pasture for the first time. I figured there would be much galloping, bucking, zooming, rearing madness.

Nope. Just wandering, mosey-ing, sniffing, a munch of grass here and there...and that's pretty much it.

"OK, I'm done now."

This is the one thing about the property that could be bad--lots and lots of coral rock.
Everywhere. Could be great for his hooves, could be a disaster for his hooves.
Could also be a disaster when I start riding him (soon--more on that later!). I don't wish to
fall onto coral rock. Not that I *ever* fall, of course

Indoor wash stall--so nice!

Hoses on either side, just like a little car wash


There's also awesome grass here. Much more lush/thick/green than the last farm

I think Salem has finally settled into his new home. It took him a couple days,
 but he is now back to 24/7 hay (he didn't have that the one month on full board @ old farm)
and he knows that he still has his personal masseuse/groomer/pamper-er *yours truly*
with him every day, so he's quite content

This is how I leave him each night--all tucked into his shavings-filled stall,
with a nice soft mash and a net full of sweet orchard hay.
Yes, moving is stressful, but I don't think he has too much to complain about @ the moment

More news coming soon! I have just gotten extremely behind on all things blogger, so it will take a while for me to catch up.