Thursday, September 14, 2017

Don't Call it a Come Back, Part 3 of 3

Prepare yourselves for some disappointment.  I would say I was prepared considering the down time Mochs had until we got her going again.

The morning of July 23rd I went out to feed.  On the weekends I put them in their other pasture for the day.  I throw their hay in it and then open the gate for them to go into the other pasture.  Mochs normally comes trotting through because she's a foodie and can't wait for the next feeding time.  That morning Klein and Wes were waiting at the gate but Mochs wasn't.  If she's out not paying attention as soon as she hears me take the chain off the gate she'll come trotting in.  I took the chain off and there was no pony trotting in.

Klein and Wes went over and started eating and I turned around to see Mochs walking in slowly.  She stopped in front of the open gate (which she never does) and just stared at me.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  She wasn't limping at the walk, just walking super slow.  I put her in a stall and took her temperature first to see if she was starting to get sick because she will act like that if she has a fever.  Her temp was normal so I started looking and feeling all over her.  When I went around to her right side I saw a mark...a kick mark.

 Kick mark on day 1.

It was still wet with a little bit of blood.  It had happened just before I went out that morning.  I knew instantly it was from Klein.  There is no way Wes could kick that high if he wanted to, and I have also never seen him try anything like that.  He'll make ugly faces, but that's about it.  He doesn't have the rang of motion anymore to kick that high either even if he did decide to act like that one day. Klein on the other hand...I have seen her take aim and fire on Wes and Mochi.  Though it's normally warning shots but they are serious warning shots not just a cow kick in their general direction.  She threatens with double barrels.  She has lightly connected with Wes in the chest before.  She doesn't chase them or corner them or go on the attack, just gets pissy, squeals and fires her warning shots.  If she wanted to connect for real, she absolutely could and she knows it.

Since Moch was walking I decided to give her some bute and sprayed that left side with liniment.  Then I let her eat her breakfast hay and watched her closely all day.  I was supposed to go to a friend's that day but I stayed home and watched Mochs all day.  My biggest fear was that the damage had not set in yet.  I didn't want to leave and come home to find her on three legs or worse.  However, in about an hour she was wandering the pasture like she normally does.  Though she was resting her left hip a lot.  She had no problem putting weight on it, but she would rest it at a standstill.  The kick mark was on her right hip, yet she was VERY sore on her left.  She was obviously kicked into something.

Waiting for the bute to kick in 30 mins after I had went out and found she was hurt.

Day 2.

Also day 2.  She was already standing on it normally and not resting it so much.

As I watched her throughout the day she was as mobile as normal, eating, drinking, and pooping fine.  I was also worried about some internal injury because she's a 14 hand pony that took a kick up against something by a 17 hand horse.  She is basically a small person that took a punch from an MMA fighter and somehow didn't get knocked out.  Since she was for the most part acting normal aside from resting her left hip I decided to just bute her for the next few days then have the chiropractor out for some acupuncture and to straighten out whatever got jammed up.

Mochs on day 1.  I left her in with Wes and Klein to see if she would move around with them, which, she did.

Kick mark cleaned up on day 2.

Throughout the week she continued to improve and gradually stopped resting that hip.  If for any reason she would have started going off her feed or becoming immobile/lame at the walk the vet would have been called immediately.  She seemed to just be very, very sore, which you would expect.  But she also noticeably improved with each day.  The following Saturday was our acupuncture/chiro appointment.  It trotted her for the chiro so she could see how she was moving and she was very obviously off in the left hip.  She was still so sore the chiro actually did not want to adjust her for fear that she may have a fracture in that hip.  Well if I wasn't worried enough already, that did it.  Cue panic and extreme worry.  She did do the acupuncture though and Mochs relaxed with it. 

Pony acupuncture.

Mochs in lock up, listening to her radio.

After that visit I stalled Mochs and called the vet because if the chiro was worried about it then I need to make sure of what we are dealing with.  In that day that she was stalled a lump formed under her belly back by the sore hip.  There was visible swelling in that side and that swelling was now pooling and forming that lump.  It was soft, you could tell it was fluid.  It wasn't hot, and she didn't care if you touched it.  That lumped form because I restricted her movement.  The whole reason for me not stalling her to begin with is because I didn't want her to get stiff, and walking would help loosen that up and keep the blood moving around that area.

The small circle is the lump, this was the first night it appeared.  The big circle is where the tightness, soreness, and swelling were.

 



The lump two weeks in.  This is the biggest it got and then it started to disappear over the next week.



The vet was out Monday and examined her.  I trotted her for the vet and she graded her 2 out of 5.  She had improved throughout the week.  The vet said it is possible she could have a stress fracture on the end of her hip which is good because you don't need that part for anything.  She did not feel a rectal exam was necessary because there were no signs of a pelvic fracture (huge relief).  She said we could get a referral and go for a bone scan at the hospital which may show our issue but the treatment would still be the same, rest.  Six weeks of rest and being separated from Klein and Wes was in order.  No stall rest, another huge relief.  One thing that is on the top of the list of things I don't like is stalling my horses.  I hate it.  I feel a little piece of me die inside every time I have to stall them for some reason, which is only when there is a medical reason for it.  We decided to just do the six weeks of rest unless she took a step backward, then we'd go right to the hospital.  The vet also gave me a tube of Surpass, and anti-inflammatory gel to put on her hip.


 
Enjoying a drink together after the vet left.  I sat there with her and drank a couple margaritas.  We were both relieved by the news the vet had for us.

At first Mochs seemed to enjoy having a pasture to herself.  As the weeks wore on, you could tell she was ready to be back in her little herd.  She would kind of watch Klein and Wes.  They were just a matter of feet away from her too.  She wasn't separated to where she couldn't see them, they could see each other at all times, but they were not sharing a fence line.  The reason for the separation is that the vet said IF there was some kind of tiny fracture and she was even just slightly bumped into something it could do damage.  The six weeks of separation would ensure that didn't happen.

I felt bad for her because she was having such a great time being back in work and going all over the place.  Every time I would pull the truck and trailer up to take Klein somewhere, she stands next to it and whinnies over the fence to me.  Some days she'll throw a little fit and run around.  She misses work already.

As far as her going back with Klein and Wes, I am not worried.  My girls have lived together for five years now and nothing like this has ever come close to happening.  I think Mochs was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when Klein and her attitude showed up.  I have never seen Klein attack any horse, or corner them, or go after them in general.  I 100% believe that Mochs was near a tree or in a stall or something similar when this happened.

Throughout her six weeks of rest she continued to improve weekly.  I trot her once a week to see how she looks and make sure there hasn't been a step back.  So far so good.

 
2.5 weeks after she was kicked and she was bringing that bad hip forward almost normally.

 I have also used my Equisports massager on her to help loosen up that area.  She ground ties for this and lets me do as much as I want.

We are a couple weeks past the six week mark now and she is still not sound.  She is very close to it.  I think more rest will take care of it.  She was unbelievably sore on her left side for almost three weeks, I would think there was some very serious bruising in that area due to the visible swelling and the lump that formed from the drainage of the swelling.  The lump disappeared weeks ago.

 Mochs has also been wearing her Back on Track mesh sheet at night and will continue to do so.  Now that the days are cooling off, there are some days she wears it throughout the day as well.

She will take some sounds steps and then have a couple stabby steps.  This was pretty devastating to me at first, but then it transitioned into being very, very thankful it was not worse, because it very easily could have been.  She was just going so well, but I got her going extremely well this summer and I will do it again after she is healed from this.

I am about to have to go to a school for work that is five weeks long.  The plan is to get on her when I get back.  I think she will be sound then, if not, we'll have the vet back out.  I think the extra rest will be what she needs because she took a hard hit.  Here she is the other night, obviously she feels just fine.

A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

Oh and naturally, two days before this happened, The Other Half bought me this for her since I had sold her jumping saddle a while ago.  That's ok though, it will be waiting for her.


When I get back from my school and assuming she is sound, the plan is to start getting her fit slowly this fall/winter and work on our basics with dressage and jumping, then come out swinging when spring rolls around.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Don't Call it a Come Back, Part 2 of 3


The dressage show I entered Mochs in was early in July.  I just put her in two Intro classes in the Starter Horse division.  Intro A and B.  At that point she had not been to a show in almost two years, and she is the type that needs to go a couple times and have everything be very easy and low threat.  Her little pony mind can get wound up easily.  Intro A and B are both walk, trot.  Doesn't get any easier than that.  This would be a great way to let her have an easy day in the ring and let her just be around the commotion of a show. 

 

She was her usual excited self as soon as I got on her to head over to the warm up.  I let her walk around on a long, loose rein for a while in warm so she had enough time to get her bearings before we started our warm up.  She didn't really care what was going on, which was great.  She warmed up nicely.  When we went in to start circling the ring and wait for our whistle Mochs was a little looky.  It was just something new for her and then when we went down the center line she was a bit startled by the SUV the judge was in, which was a bright silver SUV with the sun reflecting off it and directly into our faces.  I think she wasn't sure why she had to keep heading straight to this blinding thing and was above the bit and a little unsettled. 

Unsettled or not, it didn't matter to me, I took her there solely to just be there and go in the ring.  I really didn't have any expectations, except to ensure it was a positive, non-stressful time for her.  The majority of that very short test was just trying to keep her attention mostly on me.  She made it through with no significant, ugly issues.  We had one ride between our tests so we went out and just waited by the ring.

When we went back in for Intro B I kept her in the 20m area before the entrance and instead of letting her relax to look around that time, I put her to work and she did start to shift all of her focus to me. All of a sudden she started to relax and seek contact.  That was a victory for me, she was focusing on me and her mind wasn't running off with her.  This time the SUV didn't bother her either, thankfully she is a pony where once she identifies something as not being a threat to her, she doesn't care anymore.  It gets filed away in the pony brain as "does not eat ponies."

The second test was noticeably better.  She was more focused and relaxed.  After that I walked her around a little bit more to let her watch the other horses warming up for jumping and dressage.  Then I took her back to my trailer to untack her and have her wait on the trailer.  I also wanted her to have some time just hanging out on the trailer.  She started to talk to the horses in the trailer next to us, but then she went back to snacking on her hay and minding her own business.


I walked up to get our tests and was surprised to see they were both 60+%.  She was second and third.  As I thought, the second test was better too.  Overall, a complete success.  Funny thing, people I know were there and I rode right by them on her, completely undetected.  I felt like I was undercover because no one up here really knows her.  It was kind of nice.

 
Spotted mare crew!

The next day I had plans to meet with Jen from Apping it Up for some xc schooling.  This would be Mochs' first xc school in almost two years, well if you want to call it that because she would be jumping the tiniest stuff they had out there and 98% of that was going to be at a trot.  I just wanted to get her out to another place she hasn't been, so why not trot some tiny fences?  Jen also just happened to have a MW Stubben jumping saddle that she was looking to sell.  How convenient...Mochs is a MW.  

My goal with Mochs being sound is to event her.  That is the path we were on before this whole Navicular cyst drama started.  Right now I'm trying to find out just where our limits are, and there is only one way to find out...to get our asses out there and get to work now that she is very comfortably sound.

 


The Stubben fit Mochs great, though it felt a little small for me.  We warmed up in the stadium ring over some cross rails and tiny verticals and Mochs felt GREAT.  I was SO happy!  She went right for everything out of a trot or canter.  The canter she would land in was also very balanced and light.  That wasn't consistent though, and I wouldn't expect it to be because she is still lacking in the strength department.  She needs to be in regular work longer and that strength will come back.  The fact that she even had that canter at all blew me away.  I couldn't have been any happier with her.



After all that down time she was still her little pony self that goes on the attack to fences.  I actually forget just how viscous she can get to fences.  She LOCKS onto stuff unlike anything I've ever ridden.  She CAN come to things in a balanced, organized, domesticated manner, but excitement and lack of strength contributed to her rushing a little bit right now.

Umm, yeahhh...when your pony locks on and launches you in your too small saddle.  This would be a good one for #failfriday

 

She was happy to go for anything.  She jumped logs, a ditch, a little brush fence, down a bank, went through the water, etc... With the bank, Jen and Mia were schooling the bank and I wasn't planning on doing anything with Mochs on it.  But, Moch started to pull me toward it after seeing Mia go off of it.  So, I let her go off of it. 



Happy pony after another adventure.

We had a great day!  Jen and Mia were planning to show at the same place the next weekend.  We had tried to plan a show together the month before and it didn't work out.  So, I decided to put Mochs in the smallest CT for fun.  I mean, these are tiny stadium fences she could walk over if she wanted to.  These don't require much strength/balance and the dressage test was just Intro B.  I knew it would be another good opportunity for Mochs to be around the show atmosphere as well.

I borrowed the Stubben to try out the rest of the week and despite it fitting Mochs so well, and how badly I wanted it to fit me, it just didn't fit me.  Then I found out why...we thought it was a 17.5.  I measured it because I've never felt so wedged into a 17.5 and thought if that is how a Stubben 17.5 rides than I need to look for an 18.  Um, no.  It was a 17!  Oops...

The too small for me Stubben.

The next weekend we headed out to the CT.  My mom was also visiting so that was fun to have her here for a show.  Mochs was distracted that day, from as soon as I got on her at the trailer before dressage.  I got on her earlier than needed so I could walk her around on a long rein and let her just take the sights in.  There were two dressage rings going and stadium along with the stadium warm up ring.  There was a lot for her to look at, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  The show was a full one.

 

She started to settle when we started our warm up.  I was really happy that again I was able to get her to focus on what WE were doing.  Our test was not as settled.  She was distracted because the stadium ring is right next to the dressage ring we were in.  It is actually a little higher so she was able to look down into the stadium ring.  As we were in our test too someone was taking planks and rails in their round and so Mochs would look over at what was going on.  She tried her hardest to be present in our test but couldn't help but see what else was going on.  We ended up with a 37.5 in dressage.  That's not great, but in dressage land it is still a 60+%.  Though I was not there with any intentions of being competitive.  My victory was getting her attention to come back to me.



Stadium time rolled around and we headed to the warm up.  I knew she didn't need much of a warm up for that.  Either you can trot/canter tiny fences or you can't.  I wanted her more to be around the commotion of the warm up ring.  She was great for me in there.  She was with me and focused on what we were doing.  I trotted her over the warm up fences and landed in a canter.  I continued that canter back around to them again then just walked around until it was our turn.

And here she has hit her "I'm not impressed with any of this circus anymore" point.


I had her stand by the gate a couple rounds ahead so that she could just watch and be patient until we went in.  The EMT that was standing by the gate couldn't get over how cute she is.  Ha, adorable until you unleash her around some jumps.  I trotted her to the first one, landed in a canter and went to the next.  I did bring her back to a trot between some of them because she would get a little excited and I didn't want her getting all strung out and falling onto her forehand the whole way around.  Even over tiny stuff, she needs to be organized.  She was thoroughly enjoying herself and I had a smile on my face the entire round.  She is just so much fun, I missed riding her so much!

 
Not thrilled about being brought back to earth here.

Um, I think you cleared it Mochs.  All I see here is her ability to clear a pretty decent sized ditch out on the xc course.

She was having a blast out there and would have gladly went around the course a couple more times.

Surprisingly, she ended up winning the mixed CT division by .1 of a point.


After that show we continued to work on our dressage and she continued to relax and go better than she ever has since I have owned her.  She really enjoys having a job.  We started working on our canter after that show as well.  I was jumping her just a little bit once a week with plans to gradually increase the effort on those days.

Dressage at home.  She continued to improve with each ride.

Getting a little jump school in despite being in a down pour.  She was slightly offended a rain drop had went in one ear.

The red chair caught her attention when we walked into the ring that day, so it stayed, and was filed away in her head as another thing that "doesn't eat ponies."


I had planned to take her to two dressage shows in August and maybe do another small CT.  But that all went right out the window on the morning of July 29th...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Call it a Come Back, Part 1 of 3


We last had a Mochaloosa update in May.  At that point she was going well in her Renagade boots.  I had her working on the lunge line as well as under saddle.  She continued to stay sound in the Renegades and even without them.  I did a couple test rides with her just barefoot both in the ring and out of it and she was sound.  I even jumped her on the lunge line just out of curiosity to see if it bothered her, and it didn't.  She continued to progress and relax with regular work.

First canter in a year and a half!


One day I took her out to a WMA alone and for the first time in a long time, she was on the buckle the entire ride.  She was the most relaxed she has been in a long time.  She thoroughly enjoyed being out.  As I got her out more and more she started to relax on the trailer again as well.  That day I took her to the WMA she was silent. Even when I got out of the truck she just watched me from the window until I unloaded her.  Normally she has something to say when her anxiety is up, but that all faded away with miles, as I expected. 

Being a model citizen, standing like a statue and not making a peep while she waits for me to unload her.

 

 
Normally a power walker, she was like this from the first step we took that day. 





She isn't the best drinker away from home either so I brought some beet pulp to soak while we were out.  It worked, she's a foodie, she can't resist even sloppy beet pulp.  Great way to get some water in her!


We stopped for ice cream on the way home, Mochs likes her granola bars better.  She didn't make a sound or move a hoof while I waited in line to get our ice cream that day either.



She can be quite a ball of nerves in new places and for hauling once she has a break and stays home for a while.  She doesn't get barn sour, and she has no problems going out alone.  What she does is trembles uncontrollably and gets herself all wound up and worked into a sweat over nothing.  I firmly believe this is a result of previous owners before I bought her.  I really think she had some type of negative experience that made her associate trailer rides with something bad happening to her.  It always goes away though with miles.  It's like she has to be reminded that all we do is go out, ride like normal, nothing crazy happens, then we go home and Klein and Wes are still there, then dinner happens like normal too.  After I started taking her somewhere once a week or every other week it faded away.  She did great when I hauled her and Klein up to New Jersey from Georgia with an overnight stop.  That trip was no big deal for her at all, because I had her out showing not long before that trip.

I also purposely take her places alone.  This way she learns to rely on me and I can prove myself to her by taking her places and showing her that nothing bad happens when we are out together.  Yeah, I could also have drugged her or gave her some kind of over the counter calming paste, but why?  She has to learn to calm down on her own.  I have never drugged a horse for training/riding.  What is the point of putting a synthetic band-aid on something like that?  Either you can ride the horse or you can't.  Why not improve your bond and take the time to show them it is ok?  I think maybe some people just don't have the patience to put the hours in that it requires? 

I still haul her in a box stall while we work through that as well.  I don't tie her, I let her have her freedom and see that she's not restrained, she has total control over herself back there.  However she feels comfortable riding, she can, though she stays facing forward in a box stall.  She isn't bad on the trailer either when she is going through that phase.  She just stays stationary and has never given me any reason not to let her ride in a box stall.


The perks of being a little horse in a big horse's world, getting the equivalent of the VIP suite on the trailer.




Operation get the pony out.


She was going so well I started thinking about front shoes.  Why?  Because Renegades are illegal in the dressage ring, and also, even though she was sound barefoot I would forever be hesitant over certain surfaces.  If this was a horse that didn't enjoy work and going places so much it wouldn't be as important.  Since she likes to be out and about, I wanted to get her to some dressage shows, so I decided to give them a try.  I could always take them off if I didn't like them, right? 


My first pair of shoes on a horse I have owned, ever in my life.  Seriously.  Took me a long time to break that streak, but Mochs did it.

About an hour after she got her first set of front shoes I had a dressage lesson on her.  I was happy to have my instructor there to make sure I wasn't feeling what I wanted to feel.  I thought she felt GREAT in her new shoes, like she was taking more confident steps.  My dressage instructor agreed, and she would tell me the truth if she wasn't looking so great.

After the shoes went on, I started to increase her work load and enter a dressage show...