Friday, March 29, 2013

Red Shows Off His Soccer Skills

This afternoon the vet was coming . . . and we all know how that is . . . the vet was late . . .  We were having Coggins, and the first vaccination - three way: Eastern and Western encephalitis and tetanus, and the boys were going to have their manly bits cleaned.  (Since all three horses have had EPM, and Pie has also had Lyme, we spread vaccinations out and don't do the 5-way or 7-way.  I have stopped doing strangles and Potomoc vaccinations, and my vet agreed that this made sense in our location and circumstances.)

But that worked out well, since Red and I had some time for a nice bareback ride - Dawn and I had ridden in the morning.  There had been a pony camp at the barn that afternoon - about 8 girls between the ages of 8 and 12 - lots of screaming and running.  The camp was about over, but Red decided to show the girls how soccer is played.  We had the big ball out, and I was riding bareback.  Red went all over the ring, kicking the ball with his front legs as we went - sometimes he trotted to the ball.  The girls thought that was great, and had to come up and say hi to him - he really enjoyed that - he loves people.  Even though there were some occasions when the girls were running, he stayed calm and happy.  Even the moms said hi to him - he was the king of the day!

After all the admirers left, we had a very nice walk and trot ride bareback.  He's moving very well - the 7 days a week riding schedule seems to make a real difference.  I just love riding him bareback - it feels so natural to me and he seems to enjoy it.  And this was after yesterday's ride, which is probably the best ride I've ever had on Red - he was forward, and soft, and just plain wonderful.

Finally, the vet arrived.  All horses were excellent, and complemented on their manners.  Pie took a bit of extra sedation - he had a very large bean - and several smaller ones - which must have been very uncomfortable - and he was very dirty.  We'll keep him on a 6-month schedule for cleaning until we decide he doesn't need it. Red didn't have any beans, and was much cleaner overall.  Pie is slightly heavier than we'd like - he has no serious fat deposits but his ribs should be more easily felt - Red is about right, and Dawn is thin but that's OK considering her leg issues - less weight is good.

While the vet was there, I had her take a look at Dawn - I think she might be in the early stages of Cushings, due to her difficulties in holding condition over the winter, and we'll probably do some blood tests to see - and she's also at risk of developing desmitis, due to her long sloping hind pasterns and straight hocks.  So far, so good - the vet found no evidence of sensitivity in the suspensory area, or thickening, but said to keep a good eye on it.  She agreed that regular work to keep her fit, and to keep her weight down, is a good idea, and also agreed that we should avoid strenuous maneuvers, like lead changes.  It's hard to believe, but Dawn, who we've had since she was 4, and who is about to turn 16, is starting to age.

I was pleased that the vet didn't have any problem with the other providers I use - Mike Fragale for dentistry - he actually refers horses to their vet clinic who have serious dental issues he can't deal with - and also our chiropractor Dr. Marold, who is also very good at endocrine matters, and who was the one who picked up the EPM and Lyme.  My vet said that the custom chromium/selenium/magnesium/vitamin E supplement Dr. Marold uses is a good idea for a suspect insulin resistant horse like Dawn.

Then, since the boys had been sedated, and their hay had been removed from their stalls, I hung around for a while to do some chores.  The boys perked up, I gave them their hay and headed for home.  Another wonderful day with horses - you can't ask for better than that!

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