Sunday, February 27, 2011

Updated Riddle...

....brought him in, he looked more happy then I have seen him in a while.
Stuck him on the lunge line....held my stiffness..Someone who was watching said to me: "You know, unless you were really looking for it, he looks pretty damn good."  He IS still short in front and not quite stepping up under himself like I know he can - but, that can be understandable given his situation.
Someone else made the suggestion: I think you should ride him, get him stretching and supple.  There is a LOT you can accomplish just walking for 35-40 minutes.
Hummmm, they have a point.
Tomorrow - I will see how he is and make a game time decision...and more importantly then anything else, listen to my gut!!
(Which at the moment is growling at me, but SO went out to grab Chinese while we watch the Oscar's...Anne Hathaway is super cute.)

Riddle Me This...

Before starting in on my rant - because it will be a rant - I want to take a second to say thank you to everyone who comments and sends me emails. Honestly - it is great to know that there are 'inquiring minds who want to know' what is going on with Chester.  It means a lot to me. Thank you.
So what do I do:
1 - when DVME says for sure it is an abscess.
2 - when Farrier Extraordinaire says for sure it is NOT an abscess.
The farrier busted out the hoof testers yesterday afternoon - and HAULED on them.
Chester, did. Not. Flinch. Once. 
He poked, prodded and came up blank. "And his x-rays were clean?", he asked me. I nodded with a look of dismay on my face - "There is no way this horse has an abscess."  Think about it. His foot - after a month of wrapping - is soft. You would think that an abscess would be easy for a farrier - who is very very very good at his job - to find.  He came up blank. "I think it is higher up, in his shoulder maybe - but there is definitely not anything wrong in his hoof.  I would get him outside and moving around because he has been in his stall for the past month and that is not doing him any good." 
Great - I have one person who I trust telling me one thing that is the complete polar opposite of what the other person I trust telling me. Awe. Some.
So - now what? Mystery lameness it is?! Who knows anymore...because this morning - he was not lame.  He was stiff...but not head bobbing dead lame and there was no heat anywhere. (I have left this poultice off - because really, what's the point now?!).  We lunged him, and after about 5 minutes, he was looking more like himself...even stretching down a little and snorting. Hummmm. I am completely dumbfounded.  That is a complete understatement - I am going out of my friggin mind trying to figure this out.
There are a couple of theories now:
1 - Remember how a couple weeks ago - I really thought the abscess had burst, his shoe went on, he pulled it off in the field and he came up dead lame?! Well, if it WAS an abscess, then maybe it actually did burst and he was simply foot sore....?
2 - Because he has been in his stall for so long, and not moving, he has lost the majority of the muscle we had built up over the past 6 months, a lot of muscle through his butt, over his back and neck.  Also he has been standing, not moving, he has limited circulation and we know that this horse does better with mobility (ie because of his stifles) so he could be super sore because of the lack of mobility.
3 - There is soft tissue damage higher up in his leg. Which would be absolutely AWFUL...which is somewhat causing me to second guess everything now because originally when this happened ON DECEMBER 30 - FML - , I thought it was something higher up in his leg. Remember - we were going to the left, he spooked - at NOTHING, 30 minutes into our school - jumped to the left 10 feet, then came up dead lame. But - Dr. Cove (chiro) cleared his shoulder...AND on that note he has full mobility in his shoulder because I have been keeping my eye on that AND farrier and I yesterday checked it out.  No resistance.
4 - It is a complete mystery lameness that will haunt me for the rest of my existence....
Yesterday - I was thinking it would be a good idea to have DVME come out to block his foot and work up from there if need be. But this morning, I am thinking differently, simply because he was NOT lame.  (Remember that I am now an honorary member of eventer79's poverty induced veterinary bill club, so, I think we might hold off.  If I had an unlimited source of money - hahahaha - I'd more then likely block ASAP.) Stiff YES. Lame, NO.  I don't think blocking will tell me anything.  He is stiff, what does that tell me...? He needs to move, increase his circulation, and build up some muscles again.  (Right?!)
What will happen now.
~ EVERYONE has said - get the horse outside he needs to move: He will go outside in the morning, and I will bring him in around 2.  That will give him 6 hours/day outside for the moment.
~ When he comes in - I will lunge him for 5 or 10 minutes to see how he moves.
~ This will happen until Thursday and which point he will be looked over by a masseuse (we have one - LUCKY) who boards at the barn.
The consensus - for the moment - is he is muscle sore.  Let's hope hope hope HOPE that is the case.
It is sooo hard. 5 people will give you 5 different answers when you ask them the same question.  In this case - a LOT of people who are very knowledgeable are all saying the same thing.  Muscle soreness, stiffness, get him outside, increase his circulation, give him a couple days and see what happens. That is what we are going to do for the moment.  I will monitor him for the next 3.5 days - his movement, heat/swelling in his legs, heat in his feet, etc and see where we are.
March 20 - we are supposed to be doing a jumping clinic - but at this point, it might be safer to put off until April... WHEN I start to ride again, we will be doing nothing but walking for at least 10 days - 2 weeks.  I will NOT risk my horse at re-aggravating something because I am asking too much of him too soon.
I HOPE this is the right thing to be doing.  For the next 3.5 days, I'll eat my lucky charms and rub the Buddha's belly for luck:
In a nutshell, here is the summary:
December 30 - Spooks, comes up dead lame
On and off lameness for 2 weeks  - becomes REALLY bad the 3rd week of January
DVME thinks Abscess - we poultice - beginning of February
Middle of Feb - we think the abscess blows, he gets his shoe put on - stick him outside - he PULLS the shoe half off and comes in dead lame...again
Last Wednesday - Feb 17 - x-rays - Clean - poultice with Bran, Epsom Salt, Listerine and DMSO for 10 days
He has been in his stall since the beginning of February
Yesterday - Farrier can't find ANYTHING in his foot - says he needs to get moving and put him outside. I did not wrap his foot.
This morning - no heat in his feet - they all felt the same - no swelling, no heat - lunged and he was stiff, not lame. Put him outside and crossed my fingers.
If anyone has thoughts based on the facts, I would LOVE to know.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Plan...Part 1...

Part 1 - simply because we can't have a Part 2 until Part 1 has been completed.
Tomorrow, my wonderful farrier is coming to trim up Chester and dig for the mystery lameness/ damn abscess...and when I say 'dig' I think he literally means dig.  He told me that when Chester reacts in the slightest way to the hoof testers that he will break out the instrument of torture known as an abscess probe (I think) and attempt to dig the blasted thing out.
I THINK this is what it looks like.
Part 2 is yet to be determined based on what happens with Part 1 tomorrow...annnnd as we all know when it comes to horses, it is always best to have Part 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc...
In an ideal World, this is what I would like to have happen:
Part 1 - YAY - The Damn Abscess has been found and YAY - my wonderful farrier has popped it!
Part 2 - Back to work for Chester. Walking only for a week 2x/day
Part 3 - Trotting a week from tomorrow...sooo March 7?
Part 4 - Be prepared for the jumping clinic that I STILL remained signed up for....fingers crossed, fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

Oh - the summer scheduled has been decided and is up!!! The Events have been chosen and OMG - the First one, is May 21.  Grandview - which I have NEVER shown at and whcih I hear is simply awesome... So excited! Also - if all works out according to plan - hahahaha - we will make the move to Training on August 14 at Lane's you recall, Lane's End was Chester's first EVER event last summer and I couldn't think of a better place for him to make the bump up.  Their courses are beautiful, the volunteers are incredible and it is a very very VERY well run of my favourites.  I relayed this information on to Chester and promptly told him to get it together...again.
Fingers Crossed, Fingers Crossed, Fingers Crossed....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Horse, Can Trot a 10...

I don't know how to feel right now...excited? Over-hopeful? Optimistic?
This morning, there was no heat in any of Chester's legs or feet. OMG OM OMG OMG!!  Going back this afternoon, I held my breath as I took off his poultice boot and anxiously felt his leg and foot...hummm, a little heat, but that could have been from the wrap itself.  I see nothing suspicious and don't smell anything other then 2 days old bran and should take a whiff of that.  It's gross.  But, it makes the entire barn smell minty when I first mix it up. Mint and poop don't really mix...kinda like those Febreeze air-freshners you leave in the bathroom...Ain't a good mix of smells.
He prances out of the barn and over into the *NEW* massive indoor...I throw him on the lunge the left and he moves...near, but not, perfectly.  To the point where there is tension in the line and he is trotting, stretching through his neck and putting his nose 6 inches above the ground. OMG OMG OMG!! So, we switch direction and get the same result!!!
Logic here - "Now now Carrie, do NOT get ahead of yourself."  Then again, DVME says that bute pretty much stops having its effect after 12 hours of absorption and is basically out of their system after 24 hours.  And once again I find myself needing to be reminded that patience is a virtue, which I clearly do NOT posses and I am at the mercy of my horse and his damn thick soled feet.
See this shirt? - It is going to end up in
my tack box any second now...
I let him off the lunge and he turns on his haunches and buck-farts away from me to the other end of the arena....and I sit and watch and let him be a horse.  Then I get more and more mad and used this exact phrase in a bbm message to my DVME: 'I am sitting here watching Chester scoring 10s for his passage.'  I followed that up promptly with: 'Ass'.
Little does poor Pickle know, that I have unfortunately for him seen him be able to trot like that.  And he best be getting to trotting like that on a regular basis once we are schooling again.  You know the trot I am talking about - the 'Look at me I am a stallion with a HUGE neck, my ass is on fire, don't want my tail to touch it, trotting on bedsprings' trot. I wanted to kill him.  Then he proceeded to *run* from one length of the arena to the other, snorting, farting, bucking and carrying on like he is a 2 year old who doesn't know any better.  It took me 5 minutes to get near him.  Oh - today when I was there, it was a solid 48 hours since he has any bute in his system.  A step in the right direction?!
So - I stick him in his stall, mix up his poultice, then drag him into the xties...annnnnd he comes out stiff. Uh. Oh.  Me thinks my horse should not be allowed to run around like that until he is done with the damn mystery lameness/abscess.  So - I walked him for about 15 minutes and he seemed much happier.  Then again, DVME said, let the horse be a horse.
I stuck the poultice on him and then back into his stall he went. Before tucking him in for the night, I checked all 4 of his legs and the 3 feet that were all exposed.  The legs were clean, no heat and all his feet felt the same.  There are 3 more days of the bran poultice: tomorrow, Friday and Saturday...which will mark the 10th day. I will reassess on Saturday when the poultice boot comes off, try to have the farrier out early next week to square his toes and see where we end up. 
I for one am ready for this to be over.  As someone recently told Chester: "Although you are keeping me amused with your antics and your mother frustrated, spring is here and there are jumps that need to be jumped. Get it together!"
So yes Chester - for the love of God: GET IT TOGETHER!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ahhh Bute...

I have a love hate relationship with Bute.
Yesterday, I had a clean legged, no heat anywhere, dressage-trot/prance-to-die-for-while-free-lunging, super spunky, not taking a wrong step anywhere and 'up' horse....annnnnd yesterday was also his last day on Bute.  Now. Before I go getting all excited, I really had to count to 10 - again - and assess my situation. (Sidebar - how come, when horses act like lunatics, you can see that Dressage-trot-to-die-for, but then you sit on them and it is impossible to achieve...?! I mean really Chester, I know you can trot a 10, why the hell won't you do it for ME?!...anyways...)  Chester, had been on Bute for the past 5 my mind I was super excited.  The logical part of me went: 'Now Carrie, he has been on Bute which is more then likely the reason you have no heat, swelling and he is acting like a maniac.' Yes, logic, I know you are probably right, but geeze - let me have my 5 seconds!!!
DVME said that now we will see what happens as the Bute comes out of his system.  If he continues to act in the same 'look at me I'm a dressage horse that can passage on my own' manner, then we will know we are headed in the right direction.  If the ever dreaded heat, swelling, stiffness, ouchiness returns, then we will know something is still wrong. Let's not hope it is the latter eh?
This morning - he was exactly the same as he was last night.  No heat anywhere, his feet were cold, no strong digital pulse, standing on all 4 legs with even weight, he looked happier and still was moving out fine. 
There has been no bute in his system since 6pm last night.
Fingers Crossed.
Tonight we will see if there is any change.
In the Meantime, Chester says:  "Hi Everyone!!"               
He looks like a baby doesn't he...? Don't let
him fool you though...

Friday, February 18, 2011


8: The number of days left for Chester to blow the abscess using our new poultice mix of: bran, Epsom Salt, DMSO and Listerine and until we upgrade to the ever dreaded 'Mystery Lameness'.
7: The number of times I ask myself a day what really is wrong with Chester.
6: The number of x-rays taken that showed he didn't necessarily have an abscess, but didn't confirm he did..
5: The number of people who ask me a day how Chester is doing.
4: The number of Industrial sized Duct-Tape rolls I have purchased in the past 3 weeks
3: Hundred dollars and change spent on: duct tape, Animal Intex Pads, vet wrap, bran, Epsom Salt, DMSO, Listerine and Bute (No joke.)
2: Hundred and 65 dollars spent on x-rays and a call fee
1: Very frustrated/stressed out owner.

The GOOD news, is that he was feeling pretty good this morning, no heat in any of his feet, but better yet... by some small miracle, the poultice boot is still very much on, intact and actually keeping it all together!  In the meantime, I am going to try NOT to think about it until NEXT Saturday...however, we can still use all the extra good Karma that people have lying around.
Enjoy the warm weather everyone!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rads -> Abscess -> Laminitis - > Founder...

Right now, I am slitting my wrists battling somewhere between the second and third words you see above.  Ugh, ugh ugh.  One of the boarders txt'd be this morning and asked: 'Did DVME say anything about Laminitis? I had a TB that I had to battle laminitis in for 2 years.' Awesome. 
My response to her was: there is a risk of him foundering, yes. 
She then responded back: Are Laminits and Founder the same thing?  I didn't think they were.
Which got me to thinking...okay, are they the same thing actually, because I know for a fact that they are used interchangeably. However, founder usually refers to a chronic (long-term) condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone. Whereas, laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden initial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae.  So because I know absolutely nothing when it comes to managing my event horse, I decided to look into it a little more.

Laminitis - is actually more common then a lot of people think - and by a lot of people, I basically mean me.  Laminitis results from the disruption (constant, intermittent, or short-term) of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. These laminae structures within the foot secure the coffin bone (the wedge-shaped bone within the foot) to the hoof wall.  Inflammation often permanently weakens the laminae and interferes with the wall/bone bond. In severe cases, the bone and the hoof wall can separate. In these situations, the coffin bone may rotate within the foot, be displaced downward ("sink") and eventually penetrate the sole. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but is most often seen in the front feet concurrently. (Thank you Equine Natural Therapy.)
There are a whole WACK of causes that can lead to acute laminitis, in Chester's case - remembering that he is only at risk at this point - it will be one of two things:
a - Excessive weight bearing on one leg due to injury of another leg or any other alteration of the normal gait
b - Abscess or deep bruise
We are treating the abscess, and he is on soft cushy ground, barefoot and if the damn thing doesn't burst within 10 days (9 now) we will start to administer some antibiotics to fight infection; antiendotoxins to reduce bacterial toxicity; anticoagulants and vasodilators to reduce blood pressure while improving blood flow to the feet. Knowing my financial situation at the moment DVME said this is completely acceptable and not a necessity - yet...especially because I just dropped 2 bills on x-rays.
Me: Why are we speaking about laminitis in the first place....?
DVME: Well, because he has a somewhat raised digital pulse in his FR...
Me: I stare blankly at DVME
Apparently checking your Partner In Crime's digital pulse is Horse Management 101.  Clearly, I failed this course.  It can help you to identify pain or inflammation in horse hooves or determine if there are possibly larger issues affecting the horse. When taking pulses, you are feeling the blood flowing through the artery going into the hooves. If there is inflammation in the hoof, then the blood flow is restricted and backs up in the artery. The more inflammation there is in the hoof; the stronger the pulse. Faint digital pulses are normal and indicate there are no major issues in the hoof. An easily felt equine digital pulse is commonly called a bounding digital pulse. The sensation is like a throbbing headache or an injured finger. It is not an increase in speed, but instead an increase in strength. A bounding digital pulse is telling you that your horse may have a health issue. Stronger pulses indicate inflammation and/or pain. If there are bounding pulses going to just one hoof, then it is safe to suspect a localized issue, possibly an abscess or a bruise. More than likely this is a pain response to an injury. Where am I going with all this....? DVME felt a somewhat stronger digital pulse in his right leg yesterday...I tried to feel for them this morning and failed horribly...I will try again this afternoon.
Apparently - as I have yet to find the damn thing -  there are 4 different areas which you should be able to feel your pony's digital pulse:
1. Right above the collateral sesamoidean ligament.
2. Over the ligament. Have to be careful not to put too much pressure here and crimp the artery.
3. Right below the ligament.
4. Midway down the pastern.

(Thank you IronFreeHoof)
He was much much happier this morning, I turned him out into the arena and he was walking out much better and there was no hesitation in his step. He trotted and bucked even...speaking of which.  There is absolutely no possible way that I will be able to keep a poultice on him for 48 hours.  He had already torn the toe of his duct-tape boot off when I showed up at 8:30.  So, I had to reapply a new poultice.  He has a all-phase bag, vet wrap, duct-tap and now a poultice boot on...which I borrowed from BO....which I apologized in advance for Chester ruining...her response: It was $12 for the pair, I'll get over it.

Here are a few Rads from yesterday:

This was the first view she took - and when
I saw all the shadowing - I freaked -
For no good reason.

He has perfectly symmetrical
joints, bones and a
very thick sole.

He didn't flinch the entire time his foot was
positioned like this.
So - I am headed back to the barn shortly to see if he has torn apart the poultice boot, walk him in the indoor and find that damn digital can run pulse, but you can't hide!...Actually, maybe I won't be able to find it and that will be a good thing.  I'm still somewhat frustrated because, the only thing the Rads showed were well, NOTHING, meaning that we aren't even sure if his lameness is being caused by a damn abscess in the first place!!!

In the meantime, send us all the Good Karma you can spare!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Best We Have Is 'Probable'...

What a day this was!  I couldn't sleep last night because I was really worried about Chester (shocking as that might be). I was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:45 this morning as my SO was heading out the door. He thinks I am crazy.
Since I had nothing better to do, I went over to check on Chester. (I am lucky to have him about 7 minutes away.)  I walk into the barn and look to his stall anxious to see his head and neck up, ears pricked and eyes bright as he always is when he knows I am coming...and am greeted with an empty stall?! And then I proceed to count to 10 in my head.  My horse, who was supposed to remain inside on DVME's orders, was, clearly...outside. As I am walking around the barn to his field I grab him and give him the once over.  Looks okay, left leg is a little puffy.  I stick him in the crossties, look at his leg and notice something wrong...that 'something wrong' is the fact that my horse was outside for NO MORE THEN AN HOUR and he had managed to rip half of his left shoe OFF, there was a chunk out of his outer hoof wall, a nail missing, another nail bent and sticking half out and a suspicious looking red mark along his coronary. I stared at him in disbelief. I swear this horse is going to be damn bubble wrapped as soon as he can start to go outside again...acutally, I might confine him to his cell for the rest of his life considering he chooses to act like a complete moron when he is outside.  Not to mention the heat I could feel coming off his hoof and back of his heel.  I again, counted to 10. (That is twice now, before 9 in the morning.) Oh - and the best part - because I had already txt'd my wonderful and patient farrier - he was in Florida. (He is so good at what he does, that the big expensive rich people who own big expensive jumpers fly him down there monthly...that is a whole other post...don't get me started.)  So, after calling him an ass for being in Florida and turning down an offer for him to send me a picture of him in his man thong on the beach, I updated DVME as to what had happened.  Calm as always, she says: 'That's not a big deal, I can pull the shoe.' Phew, crisis one this point BO has come into the barn and is devastated because she completely forgot to tell the barn worker to leave Chester big deal, I am over it.
DVME and assistant show up and because I could write a flippin dissertation about what happened this afternoon, I am going to attempt (haha) to use point form and keep it short.
  • Pulled said shoe that is half torn off - break out the hoof testers, there is a small amount of reaction to cause suspicion.
  • Assistant walks/trots in straight line, turns in tight circles, lunges both directions.  He is stiff, in both legs. The best way to describe what we saw was: stiffness, ouchiness and it looked like he was kicking the dirt with his toe.
  • X-Rays - 6 different views were taken...and I think...I just decided I am going to write a whole other post about that in particular because it was so interesting...AS soon as I have the jpegs, I will add them in! UPDATE - Here is one of the views!!
  • He has extremely thick soles, perfectly symmetrical joints/bones and over all incredible feet for a TB. Yay Chester! BUT - the fact he HAS extremely thick soles is more then likely the reason it is taking an absurd amount of time for the damn thing to come to the surface...Catch 22 much?!
  • The one view that caused concer was a side view - where black showed up on his coronary band...a-ha!!! RIGHT?! Well, Probable.  Because his soles are so damn thick, it made it very difficult to really 100% positively confirm if that is where the damn abscess was.
  • Did I mention - I learned to pull a shoe today..and pulled his right one....? And, it also confirmed for me that I never, ever want to be a farrier. Ever.
  • Concern of laminitis....simply because he had a high digital pulse in his right leg...which I think is from over compensating for 6 damn weeks...which DVME agreed with me...AND, he has also only had one shoe on for the past 10 days...when the other shoe was taken off, he was standing better. Instantly. When farrier is back, he is going to come and square his toes up a little bit.
  • Bute - 2x/day for 5 days.
  • We are giving up on the animal intex pads and are now poulticing with: bran, DMSO, Epsom salt and Listerine.  Which apparently is what a lot of the race track guys up here use, which can also stay on for 48 hours. For the next 10 days. 
  • For the next 10 days, he is confined to his cell, with 'turnout' in the indoor for about 20 - 30 minutes...sigh...poor dude.
If anything, the x-rays give me somewhat piece of mind that it IS confined to his foot. There is NOTHING in his joints, legs, etc that should cause me any amount of concern.  Now, because 'probable' abscess is the best we can do, there is also a potential secondary issue (not even getting into the whole laminitis thing). DVME said that there could potentially be some torn ligaments in his foot, which x-rays wouldn't show. However, considering that he is on again, off again, on again with the lameness, that is a very far fetched possibility...simply because if he did have torn ligaments, he would be off 100% of the time.

So, now, I have a barefoot horse (who looked instantly happier when both shoes were off), who is once again confined to his cell, with a risk of developing laminitis in his RF, who will have to endure poulticing for another 10 days (at least). Not to mention one of my barn mates went through this last summer and it took her 6 weeks for the abscess to blow...Geeeeze...I don't even want to think about that.  What is WORSE then ALL of we are not even sure it is an abscee in the first place!!

DVME also said - look, if it was going to happen, now is the best time. It is winter, you are not showing next weekend and he will be fine!

When it comes to the risk of laminitis, because we are starting him on bute, it will take pressure off of that RF and help to minimize that risk. She was also quick to mention that any long term lameness can cause it, so we are going to have to watch him carefully.  She also thinks that he will be okay.  Which can fall onto somewhat deaf ears when you are dealing with a somewhat frustrated/worried owner.

The best part about this whole experience, was when we were taking the x-rays. I was standing at his head, he lowered his face to mine, looked at me, then I swear it, he pressed his forehead into mine, sighed, and just stood there, without moving, for the 15 minutes it took to take the different views.  I almost started to cry.  Then when everything was done, it was just he and I in the barn.  I was putting the poultice on, he sighed again, this time as if to say 'Really?!'

I know I am doing EVERYTHING I can to get the damn stubborn abscess OUT of my horse...and you know what, I think he knows it too.  The rest, is up to him.

X-Rays It Is...

After lunging Chester yesterday, to the left, he was the right, he took a couple hesitant steps, got better, then got progressively worse to the point where he was head bobbing dead lame. Again. Rather, I should say 'still'. Eff!
When I updated DVME, her response: Okay, this has gone on long enough (SINCE DECEMBER 30th..!!!!), we have to x-ray and find out what is going on. When do you want me to come? 
So, she is coming today at 1:00.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep well last night. 
I gave her the heads-up that if it is bad, I might have a breakdown (ha - and with her knowing me too well) she goes: It will be fine. It's just assurance of why he is so sore. Fingers Crossed.
Barn Owner told me that smiling releases endorphins that are good for you...I gave her a death stare, but then couldn't help myself, because she is right. 
Please just be an annoying abscess, please just be an annoying abscess, please just be an annoying abscess...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's GO Time...!

The shoe is on.
My fingers are crossed.
The new arena is READY!!!
I've signed up for a clinic on March 20th.
The rest is up to Chester...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving FORWARD....

Not in the 'more forward' as in when you are riding, but as in CHESTER GETS HIS SHOE BACK ON TODAY!!! Which means (hopefully) I will be able to ride him again on Wednesday or Thursday!! Fingers crossed!
Let's hope we don't have to start all over from the beginning again, but considering it has been about 6 weeks since I have really ridden him...I will be happy if I can keep his head down in our transitions! Actually, forget that, I will be happy if I can actually RIDE him without him being ouchie.
Farrier is coming today around 5 - shoe goes back on - I will lunge him.  If that goes according to plan, we will lunge again in side reins tomorrow and then take it from there.
More soon...

Friday, February 11, 2011


Chester is on the mends...!!! Right...?!
Wellll, sort of.
I go get him today from his field and as I am walking towards him, I see red.  Not the red that glimmers on his coat in the summer that makes him look like the sun, but the colour red that runs from a cut on the inside of his front left leg. I mean, come on REALLY?! I feel like this horse can have his own segment on SNL's  Weekend Update titled 'Really?!'. Geeeeeze.
Upon further inspection, there was a tiny nick which wasn't bleeding anymore.  There was however a bump, 1/2 the size of my thumb on the inside lower part of his leg about 2 inches up from his ankle. Come on horse, REALLY? No swelling, no heat, and no heat/swelling in his foot either. Thankfully.
So, I cleaned it out, put some bag balm on it and wrapped him up.  I wanted to punch him.
The game plan is as follows:
~ continue on with 1/2 day turn out (unless he gives me a reason otherwise, which at this point I am seriously contemplating having him stay in for the rest of his life), until Monday when my wonderfully patient and understanding farrier will come out and tack his shoe back on.
~ lunge him (with side reins) on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
~ on Thursday, lunge him and if he doesn't have any hesitation in his step, then I will ride him.
Makes sense?
Because time really isn't of the essence, I can take my time. I want to ensure his foot is fully hardened before I get on him, he is done being sore and takes no hesitation when he puts his FL foot down.
Fingers Crossed.
I get to move jumps tomorrow...from outside (and from all over the xc field) into the arena.  We have an SJ clinic on Sunday....sigh - which I will be taking pictures of and not riding in.
Next time, Chester, next time.
Stay Warm!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Straight From The Horse's Mouth...

Hi Folks,

I have a little bit of news. Last night, I felt like a million bucks!! It was a long time coming to get out of my cell and into the arena...and MAN, I was feeling SO GOOD!! It felt like I was on springs!  I was soo excited to be in the arena, that I was showing off a little bit because some of my friends that I haven't seen in 2 weeks were in there!! I was bouncing all over the place and every little noise just set me off! I don't really know why we were only in there for like 4 minutes! But - the good news was, I was back IN there after my ball and chain was taken off.  I was even allowed to TROT (FINALLY!!!) felt soooooo gooood, that I even cantered a little bit!!! But I am pretty sure I wasn't supposed to do that because I got in trouble. 
I was lucky enough to get ANOTHER spa treatment last night too!!!
OH - AND this afternoon, was also AWESOME!!! I was in the arena and was just cantering around with my nose to the ground!!! It felt sooooo GOOODDDD!!!!!  I got so many pats and 'good mans' and TREATS and I didn't EVEN DO ANYTHING!!! Seriously, BEST. DAY. EVER!!!
When I was back in my stall around 2:30, I was sooooo tried!!! I think I fell asleep standing up because my mom was laughing at me.
I know my mom has been a little weird lately and I think there is something going on because I have been seeing her a LOT...not that I mind, because I love her sooooo much, especially when she finds new treats for me to try, OH OH OH, like Frosted Mini Wheats AND Big Foot candies!!  YUMMMM!!!! Today, was the absolute happiest I have seen her in a long time!! AND, I didn't even DO anything!!!  Oh - AND, I even think I am allowed outside again TOMORROW!!! And the NEXT DAY and then the NEXT DAY and the NEXT DAY TOO!!!!
I don't know what I do to make my mom so happy, but I love my mom. A Lot. I am glad she is mine.  Oh, and can someone please tell her that?  I love her, even though I know I have been a bad boy lately, but it was just because I was stuck inside my cell with a ball and chain.  Oh, and can someone tell her that I want to jump too?  Maybe next week....? I really really want too...


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Can't Win to Lose...!

Something that I have done, at one point in my life, must have REALLY pissed someone off. I am just trying to rack my brain as to what....I think there is a saying that when things are bad they are really bad. Annnnd that about sums up what has been going on since about November of last year...even more so recently. Not only with Chester, but with EVERYTHING. It has literally been one thing after another after another after another. I have no idea what I have done to be on the receiving end of Bad Karma, but at this point it is getting to be a little bit like Ben Stiller's character in Meet the Fockers...EVERYTHING that you THINK can go wrong, does.
Last Wednesday, I had an interview in Toronto...and it was the day that we had a massive snow storm. So, rather then spending $12 on public transit to get to downtown Toronto for 9:00 a.m. I had to spend $68 (which I don't have) to take VIA Rail. Most expensive interview I have ever been on.
We go skiing last weekend. I am driving and get pulled over. Why? Ohhh, because I have been driving around with an expired licence since December 2009. I had no idea. The amount for that offence: $315. Yesterday afternoon, I wasn't able to get it resolved because - shockingly enough - I was given the run around by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Imagine that? Getting the run around from a government agency. At this point I have paid the $150 reinstatement fee and now have to wait for my significant other to get home so we can drive 45 minutes to pay the OTHER $75 to have my licence renewed...So, almost $600 (that I don't have in the first place) later I am going to be able to drive again. Awesome. (That is total sarcasm.)
Chester - DVME came out on Sunday - prior to the Superbowl - trusty hoof pinchers in hand.
And she was able to get a pretty strong reaction out of him - which almost ended up with me getting a knee to the head - when she pressed on his sole on the outside of his frog and outside hoof wall...I hope I explained that right...This reaction is a good thing. He will be more sensitive because he is barefoot and we have been soaking his foot for almost 2 weeks so it is quite soft. The reaction also tells us a couple of different things: What I thought I saw last Saturday on the poultice pad...more then likely wasn't the 'burst' I had been waiting to see and that he more then likely does have an abscess. DVME also said that she has had to wait up to 3 weeks sometimes before an abscess has burst. Thursday morning will be the 2 week mark. That will also mark the day when we change from using the InexAnimal Poultice pad to a mix of bran, DMSO and Epsom salt. Geeze - hopefully it doesn't come down to that! He has also developed a bit of an attitude problem...which I am not making excuses for him, but I can understand why. I wouldn't want to be locked in my stall, grumpy and ouchie for almost 2 weeks either. I feel bad for him. He was pretty ouchie yesterday which DVME also said is a good thing. It tells us that the damn abscess is on the move.
I am hoping everything gets turned around soon. I am just about ready to throw in the towel. It is hard to try and remain positive when you are surround by negative responses, trying situations and just plain bad luck. It's almost to the point where if I don't laugh at it, I will end up in tears. Buuuut - I am not finding a lot funny at the moment. I also feel bad for Aaron who is unfortunately for him getting nowhere in his attempts to cheer me up. Poor guy.
They also say that it is the shit things in life that you go through that makes you enjoy the good things. I have had about enough of the shit and am hoping for the good to start happening soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011


With one step seems I am taking 5 ginormous steps backwards.
Yesterday, Chester had next to Nil in the heat area. There was a little on his coronary band, but that was it. Yessss, I thought to myself progress. That was until I showed up this morning. He was stocked up over his ankle, heat was permeating out of his poultice wrap and he looked, well, like he was mopping. It was awful. He was pretty much a gimp when I took him out of his stall and when I put him into the indoor - he literally just stood there with his nose to the ground. It. Was. Heartbreaking.
It took me 5 minutes to get him into the wash stall so I could soak his leg. Which really frustrated me...never, not once, not even the first time I took him in there, did he ever refuse to set foot into it.
I feel sorry for him. He is bored out of his mind, has had no mental challenges in the past week and he is not comfortable. It is tough to look at him knowing what he is going through.
At this point, I am starting to second guessing myself: Did the abscess actually burst? Was it an abscess in the first place? What else could it be when it ALL points TO an abscess? The barn owner told me this morning that she had to poultice for 2 weeks once with an of the other boarders was also there this morning and she said it took her 6 weeks end to end for her guy's to fully clear. Sigh. Heartbreaking. So, we are back to soaking and wrapping with the poultice pads. We will give it until next Thursday - which will make it the 2 week mark - and if we get no change, then we will have to move on to the next option.
Send good thoughts to Chester...he could use them right now more then I could.
Like the song says: Yeah, I could use a dream or a genie or a wish, to go back to a place much simpler then this...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back to Practicing My Patience...

At what point in time do I question my ability to properly look after another living being...!? Considering the year I have had with Chester, I would say now, it is almost a daily occurrence. Most people I have spoken with - when I tell them the story of Chester's most recent injury - tell me 'Oh, well, sudden lameness is normally always an abscess.' And give me one of those 'Ican'tbelieveyoudidn'tknowthat' looks. Great. Thanks for making me feel like a good horse owner. There really is so much to learn and when you miss something that is so blatantly obvious (according the the general masses) your confidence in your ability to care for your living being...takes a hit.
Sigh. I guess the positive coming out of Chester's abscess is: He is a million times better today then he was a week ago and I now consider myself to be the best hoof pouliticer-vet-wrapper-duct-tape boot-maker East of Toronto.
He is still not 100%...the abscess burst sometime overnight on Friday...soooo, doesn't that equal immediate pressure relief and he should be a-one-good-to-go?! You would think. There is still some heat (no swelling anywhere) on his coronary band...but it is minimal. There is absolutely NO DRAINAGE anymore. So, why the hell is he still not 100%?! According to DVME: 'Keep poulticing for the next few days until the drainage tract fills in and heals over. He will be sore.' Well, he is definitely sore. I can tell you that much. I am hoping by Friday I won't have to poultice anymore and the drainage tractS (THERE ARE TWO ON EITHER SIDE OF HIS HEEL RIGHT WHERE HIS HEEL MEETS HIS CORONARY...fml) will close up.
Perhaps I have to practice my patience more. Which I should have told myself from the beginning of this whole fiasco...because really, when it all comes back around, this horse (from Day 1) has really tested my patience. I have owned Chester since October, 2009. That is 15 months. Out of the 15 months I have had him, he has been injured, unrideable or rehabbing from an injury for 8 of those months. My first EVER blog entry is bitter sweet. This is what I wrote as my goals for Chester and I on March 17, 2010:
Short Term Goal: 2 or 3 Entry level events, then Pre-Training in 2010, Bromont 3-Day Event Training Level, June 2011
Long Term Goal: Make Chester a confident and happy Prelim horse, complete a couple CCI*s
Stretch Goal: Intermediate (IF and that is a big IF I grow the necessary parts to be able to do that.)
Wow - Amazing how things can change so drastically in such a short amount of time Eh?!
Although we are starting at Pre-Training this May (Ha - I should say we are *hopefully* starting at Pre-Training in May), it would be nice to actually have something go according to plan with this horse....then again, what does everyone say about horses...? "Always make sure you have a Plan B, C, D and more then likely E."
Come ONNNNNN already Chester...we have goals to accomplish!! In the meantime, it is back to lessons in patience.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Success...I think...

I THINK the stinkin abscess has burst! On Saturday afternoon, I was heading out for there second time to soak and change the poultice on Chester's foot. He was pretty ouchie when I took him out of his stall for his hand walk around the arena. (I think this horse would be happy living inside. He just stands there, eats his hay and is as happy as can be.) He warmed out of it, but there was significant limping. When I took the poultice pad off, there was all this oozie, light brown well, ooze, that looked almost like gel. REALLY...?! I think the damn thing burst!!! As I rand my thumb over his heel, the ooze just poured out of a hole on his heel right by his coronary band. SUCCESS!!! He stood in the soak like a champ...I really think that it feels good for him which is why he is finally standing there like a good boy. After the soak, there was still tons of ooze...poor Chester.
Yesterday, was his best day by far!! There was no heat or swelling in his leg and the only place that I felt heat was on his coronary band and in his foot...but that might have been from the poultice too. He just marched out of his stall and proceeded to walk around the arena on his own. Annnd then he started running around like a moron so I put a stop to that. The Boss came out to check on us quickly. She said I was doing everything right and to keep going with it! Love getting the positive reinforcement - especially from someone as knowledgeable. Makes me feel like I sort of but kind of not really know what I am doing when I am charged with taking care of a living being...
Farrier comes tomorrow (during snowmagedon) to put his shoe on and maaayyyybe he can go out side on Thursday and maaayyybbbbe I will ride him on Friday. We will see.
I'm off shortly to check on him - fingers crossed he is better then yesterday!!!
Speaking of snowmagedon - I am supposed to be in downtown Toronto tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. for a meeting...ha, good luck to me...If I actually have to go, I am going to take VIA...and it will be the most damn expensive meeting I have ever been too...sigh...
More soon (and in sooner then 4 days, I promise.)
For people in the Toronto Area: PREPARE YOUR SHOVELS FOR BATTLE!!