This is my 300th post! Woohoo! 300 posts later, and my horse (when sound) is still walk-trot and low jumps if we're feeling brave. Kind of (really a lot) pathetic.
He had his x-rays on Monday.... waiting to hear from the vet at Cornell to see what she thinks. Clinically, he's better, but it's hard to tell if he can stop the antibiotics.
The vet was running late, so I groomed him and pulled his mane. Fuzzy photo:
OMG MOM WHAT?!
The floofy part near his withers is from his blanket apparently rubbing his mane out. So it's growing back as a fuzzy poof. Which is also largely why I pulled his mane.... to help disguise his floof a bit. Also I love the word floof.
I was finishing up when a young (13-ish) boarder came, and she was like "oh my gosh, are you just ripping his mane out??" Well, yeah, that's how it's done. Apparently she'd never heard of mane pulling! But she does Western (and maybe Wenglish, I'm not sure), and I think they mostly cut manes... gag. I haaaaaaate cut manes. Hate them. The BO at the Old Man's barn uses a Solocomb to cut manes... I've informed her that she is not allowed to do her own horses' manes because she does them wrong. I will do them properly, by pulling them, and she can pay me for it.
His hinds have been stocking up quite a bit, and he's been standing so his hind heels are elevated on a pile of bedding... I sent a pic to Super-Awesome Farrier asking what that posture indicates, and he said suspensory issues. Ugh. I want his cyst to get better so he can go back to turnout and hopefully whatever other problems he's developing can fix themselves.
I've started wrapping his hinds again.... the vets who did the xrays complimented his pink wraps! Also his pink halter, pink lead, and the pink shoelaces in my black paddock boots.
Riv is really getting good at the whole "peeing when Mom is there to clean it up" routine. He's pretty much gotten over his bladder shyness.
He kinda looks like a Saddlebred! Haha!
Fingers crossed that his vet from Cornell thinks he can stop the antibiotics!
If you're in the WNY area, you've heard about Blue4Ben. If you're not in the area, here's the summary: In late January/early February, a 4 year old boy named Ben was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma, a brain cancer that usually hits middle aged men. He had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible and started chemotherapy. Within a couple of weeks, the tumor had tripled in size. He was given a few weeks to live. His mother had started a blog for family and friends to follow, but it quickly spread all over the area, with fundraisers and just a huge outpouring of support. It was called Blue4Ben because blue was his favorite color, and also what he was usually dressed in to help distinguish him from his identical twin brother. It's pretty incredible to be driving down the road and see stores and restaurants using their signs and message boards to advertise Blue4Ben, or drive through town and realize that all the houses have blue lights over their front doors to show support for Ben and his family.
Tuesday evening, about a week after Ben's 5th birthday, Ben died. He left behind his parents, his twin brother, a younger sister, and his unborn baby sister.
His mother posted this blog entry Wednesday evening. Not gonna lie, I sat in my room reading the post with tears streaming down my face. I truly cannot fathom how his family has gotten through all this. I'm just awed by their strength. I went to the barn to give Riv his medicine and just spent a while cuddling with him.
Case for River:
I clean his stall every time I give him his antibiotics, so three times a day. This has been going on for almost 7 weeks. In the past week or two, he's started peeing while I'm cleaning his stall. Not every time, or even every day, but much more often than you normally see your horse pee. Usually, he doesn't pee a whole lot, so obviously he didn't really need to go..... but apparently, he figures that since I'm there cleaning up his mess anyway, he might as well unload whatever he's got so his stall stays nice and clean.
"He's MINE. This sweet, wonderful, beautiful animal is mine. How did I get so lucky?"
I had one of those moments this morning. Gave Riv his medicine, picked his stall, and had a few minutes to hang out and give him peppermints before going to work. I was looking at him and it just kind of hit me.. "this is my horse." It's so easy to take horses for granted, it's kind of humbling and amazing when you realize how lucky you are to have them.
When I realize how much I don't appreciate my horses, I want to kick myself. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to have a horse and ride. I remember going to bed on Christmas Even when I was maybe 6 years old and wishing I'd get a horse for Christmas... which was silly, because I never actually told my parents I wanted a horse (not that I'd've gotten one if I asked, but still.). By middle school, I was reading all the horse books I could find (The Saddle Club!!) and looking up horses and riding in the encyclopedias in the library. (Yes, encyclopedias. I really wasn't born in the 50s!)
Around 8th grade, we got a catalog, I think from Valley Vet or some farm/ranch company, with tons of horse stuff. I came up with the idea that we could get a horse and keep it at home! Add on to the garden shed for a stall, get rid of the pool and fence it in for a pasture. I wrote up a list of all the stuff I would need (including those horrible $150 saddle sets that include the pad, girth, bridle, and bit), along with a list of arguments for why I should be allowed to have a horse. I never got up the nerve to actually present my case to my parents (not that it would have mattered, pretty sure we're too close to the village to have a horse), but it would at least have given them an inkling of my untapped passion.
I was able to ride a little bit here and there, mostly just bareback on a friend's ponies (I fell off a lot) and a couple of guided trail rides.
At the end of my freshman year of college, I decided I wanted a summer job with horses, so I found stables in the area. The first one I called there was no answer. The second one said sure, we can use someone to clean stalls. And I've been there ever since (this is the Old Man's barn). It was over a year later, fall of my junior year, that I started taking lessons while doing a study abroad in England. I kept up lessons when I came home (first lesson I took here was on the Old Man!)... and here we are.
It's kind of funny that I never expressed my all-consuming desire to ride to my parents (or siblings... or anyone), because as far as my family is concerned, this whole horse thing came totally out of the blue. Which.... haha. No. It's been on my mind for as long as I can remember.
It took me a good 15 years to finally start riding, and another few years before I owned a horse... and now that I have 2.5 horses, I almost never ride. Sigh. If my 10 year-old-self could see me now, she'd lecture me something fierce.
The Mare had to earn her keep last night. Last time I rode her was about 2 months ago, and the time before that was about 8 months ago. Last ride she was obnoxious and plowing through my hands and just a nutcase. Last night she was surprisingly good. So apparently 6 months between rides is too long, 2 months is fine.
Poor girl worked up a quite a sweat, so she got hosed off and grazed for a while to dry a bit.
Such a flattering angle of her! And this is what happens when you're not really paying attention to your horse and she turns her head.. she pulls the lead rope away--not difficult, considering I was barely holding on to it.
River is tentatively scheduled for xrays on the 22nd.. that depends on a whole lot of things, including if another vet is able to do the xrays (the vet who did the practice xrays is off on Thursdays, which is pretty much the only day I can do it), if they can come to the farm or if I have to trailer him, if I can borrow a trailer, and if he's sound. Darn horses.
River is so spoiled. He's one of the only horses in the barn who gets the special hay, and the only one who gets it for all meals (because he's stalled, there's different hay outside). He had to eat the peasant hay for a day or so a few weeks ago while waiting to get in more of the special stuff, and he was like "um, excuse me? This hay is for commoners. I get the special hay." Not that the regular hay is bad, it's really quite nice grass hay. But the special hay... I'm not even sure what it is, it's second cutting with some alfalfa, but oh my gosh it's soooo nice. When all the horses were getting it, they were hoovering it up in no time. Now only the picky eaters/hard keepers get it. I could rave about the hay all day. It's so soft and green and the bales are really dense and heavy and the flakes are so nice and uniform... it's just wonderful.
Sorry, not great views... the only place to jog him is in the aisle, so it's hard to get good video. I don't dare take him outside or in the indoor. I was going to walk him around the barn a bit, just for a change of scenery, but when we started down the short aisle to the indoor, he started rearing and getting nutty. I already talked to my vet about tranqs for when he's able to start turnout again.
Good news, I don't think we'll have to go to Cornell for his follow up xrays! My vet's xray is strong enough, but there's a clinic that should be able to do it... my vet called them about it, and they took some practice xrays on a horse to see if they could get the view, haha. I don't know if I have to go there or if they can come to me, but even if I have to go there, it's 40 miles as opposed to 140 miles to Cornell.
Here's his cyst:
Really really hoping we're in the home stretch now!
Oh, speaking of the home stretch.... I was bored the other day and looking up stuff about Riv, and I found this article on Bloodhorse... back in 2005, River was helping one of his stablemates prep for the Kentucky Derby!