I couldn't figure out a good title for this post - there is lots of news.
First, I had an excellent phone call with Dave from About the Horse saddles last night - he didn't think my photos matched my tracings of the horses' backs so we needed to figure out what was what. He's got this great conferencing program he uses - you download it to your computer and then he can put up photos and drawings, and mark them up as he's talking to you so you understand what he's saying - it was very useful. So, today I redid my tracings of Pie, using the (correct) methods Dave told me to use, and with a little luck this time I did it correctly. First, I put small pieces of masking tape on Pie's back at four points along his spine - the highest point of the withers, the bottom of the withers (where's it's transitioning to the back), straight above the end of the last rib, and halfway between the last two points. Then I took a top-line tracing using the flexible ruler, followed by four sections across at each of the marked points. Here's what the end result looked like (ignore the crease to the right of center):
Tomorrow when I'm up in Wisconsin I'll do Drifter, and then send the new tracings in and see what Dave says.
Poor Dawn got nothing to eat last night after her major dental work - all she got was pasted with her Uniprim antibiotics, some Banamine and also her EPM treatment. By the time I was done, she was pretty disgusted with me, although she was bright-eyed and alert and looked better than she's done in weeks. Today in turnout she was really working on the bits of grass that are sprouting, and tonight she ate her (soaked) feed (with more Uniprim) and was really working hard on her hay - this is the first time in over a month that she's eaten her hay with enthusiasm - it was great to see. Her chewing still wasn't 100% comfortable as I expect her mouth is still sore, but it was much improved - she was actually sliding her jaw across without opening her mouth, and was clearly enjoying eating.
And we got the results of her EPM blood test - she tested strongly positive for one strain, so we weren't imagining things - not that I thought we were as her neuro tests and gait abnormalities were pretty definitive. Here are the results - check out the EPM page and the links to Dr. Ellison's information if you want to understand better what they mean:
SAG 1 - 32
SAG 5 - 2
SAG 6 -2
Last time she was tested - when she had no symptoms - her results were 2, 2 and 2, so clearly she's got an active infection going with strain 1 (32 is well above the number indicating active infection). Whether she got it at the old barn or got it at the new barn we don't know, but it is interesting that the other horses at the old barn who tested positive were most affected by strain 5 - different opossums? Who knows? She's on day 5 of treatment, and already seems improved - keeping fingers crossed that she has the same good results Pie and Drifter had.
Pie was turned out with the herd this afternoon for an hour or two - he's not been on grass in a long time so we're taking things slowly. He ambled off, and there was a bit of trotting around, but not much more. Pie took things in stride. The thing that was most remarkable is how he moved at liberty - his posture and movement are completely different - he was round, with an arched neck, his movement was soft and engaged, and his trot had great elevation and reach - at moments it looked like he was going to go into passage. All of this is the result of the great work my trainer Heather has done with him - his posture is completely different and the softness is really there both in the way he carries himself and in his matter-of-fact demeanor.
And I rode Pie for the second time at the new barn today. No groundwork - I just got on. And he was fabulous - soft, responsive and forward at the walk and trot, wonderful upwards and downwards transitions, fabulous lengthening and shortening of trot with lots of implusion and elevation, great halts and backing with softness, and he dealt well with the big overhead doors opening and closing. One time he startled when a horse rattled his feed bin hard just down the barn aisle, but he keep right on working, and he even helped me close the dutch door between the arena and the back barn from horseback, by sidepassing up to it and helping me close it, although the door squeaked and he startled at that at first. Excellent Pie!
And tomorrow there's Wisconsin with Drifter and Heather to look forward to . . .