Friday, March 27, 2015

Klein vs. Ventral Edema

Letting my girl feel a little more normal after our week long battle with a ventral edema.
A week ago last Sunday, the 15th, Klein had what appeared to be an insect bite that was a little swollen.  It was about the size of a small egg and had a little trail of blood.  I didn't think much of it because every horse gets a bite every now and then that gets a little swollen for whatever reason.  It happens to people too.  She doesn't have a history of allergic reactions to insect bites either.

The Other Half looked closely at it to make sure it wasn't a tick stuck in there or something, but there was nothing.  It was just some random bite.  So I didn't take a picture of it because I really thought it wasn't anything to be overly concerned about.  I rode that day and she was fine.  It didn't bother her at all, I don't think she even knew it was there.

Day 2.

The next day, Monday, it was swollen to about double the size it was.  That concerned me and the photo documentation began.  I texted a pic to my vet and said if it grew anymore we need an appointment asap.

The actual bite on day 3.

Ohhhhh yeah, it's vet time.

You could push on it and it would indent like memory foam then slowly fill back out.

Much to my disappointment, it was bigger the next day.  There was also a little bit of pus coming from the bite.  I squeezed it and nothing else came out.  Klein didn't care when I messed with the swollen area too.  She still seemed unaware it was even there. 

The extent of the pus coming from the bite.

DMSO and Furazone.  Not that effective when unable to be wrapped for a sweat, but it was worth a try!

The vet came out to take a look at it.  We thought maybe there was a foreign object in there that she had caught while rolling around and rubbing her belly on the ground.  She did an ultrasound and couldn't see anything.  She also stuck an instrument into the bite but there was no track to it.  There was no pus draining beyond the little bit that I had already cleaned off.


Nothing on the ultrasound.

She gave Klein an injection of Lasix and some strong antibiotic injections that I would give her once a day for the next three days.

 Pin Cushion Pony.

36 hours passed and the THING was STILL growing.  I was seriously worried for my girl.  Wtf was it?  Why??  I texted my vet another pic and said I think she better come back out.  My vet is awesome btw.  I know she is super busy, but I can always text her whenever and she always gets back to us pretty quickly.

I would not have been super worried if the THING would have just stopped growing.  How big would it get???  What would stop it?  Was anything actually in it?

It's HUGE.

The vet came back out and this time she tried to see if it would drain.  She also cut the bite open a little bit to see if more pus or any other drainage would come out.  Nothing.  She gave me another round of antibiotic injections so that I could double the dose that Klein was on already because this thing was not responding.

Klein in pony la la land before the drain attempt.

It's like she had an oil pan.

There was some drainage but not a lot to make a huge difference.  We wanted to make sure it wasn't infection in there.

Next step, referral to University of Florida, Gainesville.  Commence freak out.  UF?  Your vet doesn't refer you to UF for fun.  I mean, the UF people were extremely nice and helpful when they called to get my information and Klein's information for an appointment the following Monday morning, but that still did not make me happy to have to visit them.  On one hand I was a little relieved because surely they have everything needed to sort this thing out, but...I was nervous to find out what was going on with my Heart Horse.

Friday night I spent some time on Google looking up equine edema.  A lot of pictures came up that looked exactly like what Klein had going on, ventral edema.  The list of causes ranged from organ failure, to pregnancy, to a simple allergic reaction.  Um, what?  Organ failure?  I had to stop myself right there and remind myself this all started with a bite from something, that much we absolutely knew was true.  Klein also acted like her normal self through this entire situation.  She never had a fever, never went off her feed, never acted like she cared at all about the edema.  This HAD to be nothing more than an allergic reaction.

Klein has had an allergic reaction from a particular round bale, some kind of plant must have accidentally gotten wrapped up in it.  Her legs stocked up and Dexamethasone brought them back to normal by morning.  She also has been given Dex for her summer itchiness when we were in New Mexico.  We ended up finding something different because Dex is not something a horse should be on for an extended period of time or if they travel regularly, which she did.  Thinking about those times I started to wonder what about Dex for this edema? 

My vet texted me first thing the next morning to check on Klein and I asked her if we should/could try Dex since it is something she has responded well with previously.  She said we could and to meet her at her office and she would have it ready.  Awesome, another bag of drugs and needles for my girl.  I had been calling her Pin Cushion Pony all week.  At one point I was giving her three injections a day for a few days.  She is such a good sport about everything too.  My vet always says what a good patient she is.

I went straight to the barn with my Dex, excited to get her started on something I know she responds well with.  I was hoping to walk up to her and see that the edema had gone down but, to me, it looked like it had not.  The Other Half had this awesome idea to draw lines on it with a Sharpie so we could have a solid gauge to monitor.  I told him where the lines had moved and that I thought it was getting bigger.  I sent him a picture and he told me I had it backward and that where the lines had moved it actually went down a tiny bit.  I wasn’t convinced yet.  Later that evening he even gave me a demonstration with a plastic container to try to explain it to me again. 

 Our Sharpie gauge.  Now that I look at this picture, the Other Half was right, it was clearly down this day.  This was the day I wasn't sure. I wanted to make sure she really was getting better and I wasn't just seeing what I wanted to see.

That evening I put Klein on the lunge line to trot for ten minutes in an effort to help start the swelling on its way to reabsorbing.  She hopped around, squealed, and broke into this big moving trot like her normal self.  She seriously still had no idea at this point that she had any ailment.  She probably couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t worked all week.  This comforted me a little more to see her completely oblivious, the edema had to be completely superficial.

We had been cold hosing the edema too and Saturday evening the Other Half made Klein a custom Spider-Man ice pack.  We had decided to wage an all out war against the edema.  Dex, lungeing, ice pack, etc...

 Straight from work to the barn to tend to the princess.  That's not my trailer either btw.

 Spider-Man ice pack.  She seemed to really enjoy it oddly enough.  She stood there like this with her head dropped, relaxing, the whole time it was on.

Sunday morning I went to check on my girl and FINALLY I could notice a difference, it was definitely going DOWN!  Yes, I did start crying, and hugged Klein tight.  Klein – 1, Ventral Edema – 0.  Sunday we also finished the last of the antibiotics.

This is the day I accepted that it really was getting smaller.

I called UF the minute they opened Monday morning to cancel our 9am appointment.  With Klein being completely unaffected in any other way by the edema and it going down noticeably, my vet agreed there was no need to take her to UF.  

Still shrinking!

This week the edema has went down significantly with each day.  It has disappeared faster than it appeared.  Tuesday evening I took Klein for a little bareback walk so that she could feel like she was out doing some form of work.  Wednesday we walked and trotted a little bit.  We also finished the Dex on Wednesday.  

Happy to be out doing some degree of work, even if it was an easy bareback walk down the road.

Today the edema is completely gone.  She still has her three absorbable stitches from where the attempt to drain it was.  She couldn’t care less about those either.  She lets me clean them and clip around them and do whatever I need to.  If they aren’t gone by Monday then I am going to pull them out.

If you look close you can see how high up the Sharpie line is now!  Crazy it was swollen to such an extreme size.

Next week she will be back to regular work.  She also has an appointment with the saddle fitter tomorrow, so perfect timing for the edema to be completely gone.  I can definitely tack her up tomorrow with no worries.  The three stitches are behind her girth area too.  If there was any trace of the edema I wouldn’t put tack on her, but it is definitely gone.

 And today, normal Klein mare again.

What a weird, stressful week.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First Dressage Lesson on Mochs!!

 Ready to start becoming a real event pony!

Last Saturday Mochs' Isabell showed up!  I am super happy with it!  

With the red gullet.


 She also got some stylin' new Woof Boots.  I have kind of been on a spending spree for her lately...  (I also full body clipped her a couple days after this)

Last Sunday we went for our first dressage lesson together.  Actually, that was our first lesson together, ever.  I can take all the lessons I want on Klein, but I need lessons on Mochs too because she is so different.  Not just different for obvious reasons like their size difference, but because they are two completely different rides.

First, Mochs was a completely different horse from the previous weekend when I took her to just hack around with my instructor and one of her horses.  The previous weekend was the first time I had hauled her anywhere in quite some time and she was nervous.  Normally she is pretty quiet.  She must have remembered it was no big deal because by last weekend she was back to normal Mochi.

 Dgaf.  Napping while waiting on me.

The Other Half stopped by with the Dart.  Moch was napping and it woke her up when she heard it coming up the driveway.  Clearly she was enjoying her nap.

Mochs was great in her lesson.  Not easy, but great.  She tries so hard for me.  By the end of the lesson I had a different horse.  Her big problem right now is that she is lacking in the balance department.  Right now we have hours of trot work ahead of us.  She will have a choppy, unbalanced trot but then she'll connect and we'll have a few beautiful strides, then she'll disconnect, then connect again half way around the ring and there is another string of balanced steps.  Basically, the disconnection will slowly fade away as she gets stronger and learns where and how to carry herself.

She has two main evasions.  One is to pull on me, the other is to fall forward and try to run out from underneath my, basically splatting on her forehand and getting heavy and rushed.  She pulled so hard on me one ride I actually had a blister from my wedding ring between my ring finger and middle fingers.  I would never pull on her when she does this, I was just not giving to her, but she is pretty strong.  My instructor fixed that last week. 

Every time Moch would go to pull on me she would tell me to drop most of the contact so she had nothing to fight against.  She said slow her down with your body, not your hands, go smaller with your seat, tighten your abs, and squeeze her.  Moch immediately responded.  One thing that is so awesome about my dressage instructor is that, more so than any instructor I have ever had, she is 110% about controlling your horses tempo/movements with your body.  I feel like I've missed out before I started riding with her.  This stuff is so important.  Previous instructors would touch on it, but my current one really emphasizes it before anything else.  I mean every one knows you don't stop a horse by pulling back on the reins, and that you ride a horse back to front but it is different to have an instructor that pretty much demands your body ride every single step your horse takes.

I think I worked as hard as Moch did in our lesson.  I really did ride every single step of that ride.  One thing my instructor calls me out on is when we take a break and are walking around the ring I stop riding sometimes because you know, it's break time.  I start going bigger with my seat and she reminds me that's not doing me or my horses any favors.  She told me I am a little too supple in my body, which is great, but I need to be a little more aware of it.

Lesson complete!

We are working at the walk and trot right now, which is funny because it seems so elementary, but that lesson at just the walk and trot was harder than some lessons with second level movements.  We did 20m circles that spiraled in and out, changes of direction through short diagonals, and worked on leg yields in both directions.  

My instructor said "Do this stuff all week and I bet you'll have a different horse at the end of it."  So, we did this stuff all week and Moch is absolutely a different horse.  There is no pulling.  In today's ride alone there was only two times she attempted falling onto her forehand and speeding up her gait.  That is a marked improvement. 

I'm pretty proud of My Little Pony this week.

The spending spree continues, now she has white DSBs.

Today was pony pedicure day and I knew I wouldn't feel like hauling Moch after that so I rode before our trimmer got there.  Tomorrow it is supposed to rain or I would be taking her for another lesson.  For now, we have homework, and that is what we needed.  I can't thank my instructor enough for getting me on the right track with Moch.  She has also done wonders for my dressage scores with Klein too.  

I am planning on taking her to her first dressage show the first weekend of May.  Once we get some more strength and balance we'll start back over fences again.  I really hope to get her out to her first starter level event this fall.  I have a saddle fitter coming out this Friday to evaluate Klein's saddles and adjust/re-flock as necessary and she will also be doing Mochi too.  That way I have an idea of what I want to start looking for as far as a jumping saddle for her.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Summertime Handsome

The Handsome ready for some Georgia heat.

Klein never really grew a winter coat this year.  I only clipped her once the whole winter and that was even barely noticeable.  Moch, she grew an ok winter coat but still not much of one.  She is from South Georgia, so her body knows better.  Wes, first winter here coming from the winter wonderland of Utah, turned into a yak and has basically been shedding the whole winter despite having a decent sized clip.  

  Yeah, no.  We don't play this game in our house...  (Yes that fence line is new, the second and third rail are coming)

Our last 40 degree night disappeared a couple weeks ago, the 80's are here and no one needs a shred of winter coat on them.
 Featherless Wes!  First I clipped his belly and legs, then the rest of his body a couple days after that. 

While I was clipping Wes I clipped his feather off too.  I just wanted to see how it looked and plus it would give me a good chance to examine his legs closely.  I keep Klein's feather clipped so I can put boots on her and wrap her and I don't miss it.  I clipped it off a couple years ago and have never let it grow back.  I think I might do the same with Wes.  I don't mind his feather, but I don't miss it.

While I was in SC for work the other week The Other Half sent me this video.  He sends me videos and pics of the ponyfaces every day because he's awesome like that.  Wes is so cute.  He is just so happy in his retirement. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Gymnastic Refresher

 Line of four one strides.  Crazy, I took this pic Monday before I went out of town, I got back Thursday and it's all green now.

Klein and I have kind of gotten off track with our gymnastics.  They are such a valuable training tool and they helped Klein immensely when she was younger and just learning to jump.  We used to work through some kind of gymnastic atleast once every other week but I realized recently it's been about two months since the last time.  

Monday I had to leave for an out of state work trip, but not before I got a ride in.  I decided we should get back on track with gymnastics and set up a line of four small one strides for Klein. 

 She was awesome.  She ate them up.  She was a handful from the first minute I asked her to trot while we were warming up so I knew what I was in for.  We also worked on adjusting our stride between two ground rails during our warm up.  It took me a little while to get her to bring it down a level.  She just wanted to GO.

 Two ground rails set for a four stride.

Once I got her to where she was listening a little better we started to work through our one stride line.  First I jumped one of the verticals in the line on an angle to warm her up over a fence.  That little stutter step issue we were having lately?  Gone.  Every time I approached a fence during that ride I could hear Carlo in my head saying "GO-ING."  He told me more than a few times during our lesson "You need to keep her GOING."  Then we'd canter past him on approach to a fence and he'd say "GO-ING!"  There was not one OUNCE of hesitation in my Klein mare.  Carlo was right, that's where she needs to be for jumping, grabbing onto the bit a little bit and GO-ING.  

Remember one of my issues was that I know I don't keep enough leg on with her sometimes?  I do now, and I can totally feel her click into place as soon as I put it on.  That's what she needs.  There was one approach to the line where I realized I didn't have my leg on as much as I should and when I applied leg I felt her kind of fall into place.  

Some video of that line:

Time to raise the jumps up and do some real work.

Here is a mare that is happy and enjoying herself.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Mochi!

 The perks of being a little horse in a big horse's world.  Every thing from the trailer to stalls are super roomy VIP suites.

 Sunday I took Mochs to my dressage instructor's house to ride.  We weren't doing a lesson that day because we just wanted to go for a hack. 

 She basically has a stall and a half haha.

 I haven't taken Moch anywhere (besides when we moved barns in January) for a long time.  Mainly because she wasn't working.  Now that she is working and we are making some progress and plans, she needs to start going out again to different places.

She isn't a barn sour horse, but she is concerned with where Klein is.  Most times it is out of sight, out of mind. Sunday it was a little more than that.  At first she was a handful.  14 hands of fury, I'm telling you.  She didn't cry or anything, she just was just sooooo forward.  That is how she expresses nervousness.  She gets so worked up for no reason.

We started out around a big field to see if that would just bring her down a notch.  She isn't bad, I just didn't have her full attention.  She needed to relax a little bit.  We did some long trots, some figure 8's in all three gaits, and halts.  She really wasn't coming down at all. 

 Finally we headed down the road and she relaxed.  She also seemed a little better when she was in front.  Weird because I have never had a horse that cared about where they were when riding with other people.  I really started to question this 25 mile ride.  I promised my friend I would go but, I think 25 miles is not what she needs right now.  If she is like she was on Sunday, that 25 miles is going to seem like 50.

She has been great at home.  Much more relaxed, very manageable.  I know it was the change of scenery that had her wound up.  And Mochs, when her mind starts going at light speed she starts to work up a sweat to go with it. 

Out in front.

We walked and trotted a while down the road with my instructor and Mochs was definitely a little better.  When we got back I wanted to ride in her ring for atleast a couple minutes, because...well it has Martin's footing (think GGT) and it feels like you are riding on clouds.  I wanted to see if we could calmly go around the dressage ring with Moch's mind present.

We were able to manage in the ring. She finally started to either just relax, or maybe remember she has been there before.  I was pretty happy with how she was in the ring.  She was acting like she does at home.

My instructor finished putting her horse away and I asked if she wanted to get on Moch for a couple minutes.  I really wanted her to get a feel for what I was up against for our future lessons.  She walked and trotted her around for about 15 mins.  Here is just a little bit from that:

That's right...that is Moch.  I told you.  We are getting it together.  She has been putting this kind of work down lately which is a vast improvement from where we had been stuck.  Now, I just have to get her out more, which is easy.

My instructor suggested we stay at the walk and trot right now until she understands that getting under herself is where she wants to be, not pushing to the side.  Once we get her pushing from behind and using that big engine, we can progress.  Fine with me, I'm in no hurry.

Total we rode for maybe an hour and a half.  Nothing more than Moch has been doing regularly for the past month.  By no means did I ride her hard.  But, here comes the weird part.  I had untacked her and hosed her off.  We were standing in the barn aisle when my instructor points behind me to Moch's hindquarter and said "Is she thumping???"  I turned around to see her hindquarter shivering.  Wtf??  She has NEVER done that after a ride, not even in the dead of August pressure cooker Georgia heat and humidity where she is just dripping with sweat after a ride.  Moch is FROM here.  She was born about 45 mins away from where we live right now.  

I have seen her hindquarter shiver like that in only one other situation, loading on the trailer.  If she is nervous when getting on the trailer her hindquarter will shiver like that.  And it is always when she loads at home to leave, it has never been after a ride.  Warm weather, cold weather, it's just a nervous response from her.  Was she nervous about standing in a new barn???  As soon as I walked her in a big circle for a couple minutes it stopped.  What WAS that????  I really don't know but it definitely has me wondering.  She acted fine, and when we got home she was her normal self.  The next day she looked fine too and was acting normal.  

She is also the one out of the three that bites CHUNKS off her mineral bloack.  CHUNKS.  Since thumps is set off by an electrolyte imbalance I am just having a hard time believing that is what it was.  It wasn't that hot, she's clipped, that wasn't a hard ride, I see her bite chunks off her mineral block, I hosed her off with cool water.  Also, my vet has known Moch years before I bought her.  She actually has ridden her.  Mochs has no history of thumps.  It is nearly impossible to tell being that she was pretty nervous there to begin with.  

I am just going to have to take her for a pretty lengthy, moderate ride and see what happens.  I will do it at home where she is 100% comfortable too and nerves can't be a factor.  That pretty much seals the deal on not doing the 25 mile ride.  Until I figure out wtf.  

Also, my instructor recommended I reconsider for the sake of her little pony mind.  She was just so full of concern.  She would work herself into a nervous sweat before we ever left.  I am pretty confident she can do a slow 10 or 15, which that ride does have.  I might switch to that, or I might not just take her.  That is not what I want to focus on with her anyway, it was just a fun goal with a friend.  It would also be great for her to get out and spend the night away from home.  If we decide to just not go that weekend, I'll still take her somewhere to have some fun.  Maybe the beach.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Red Hills 2015

 Stairway to Heaven bank complex.

 The Other Half and I went to Red Hills today to watch the 1*, 2*, and 3* XC.  I did take videos, and if you guys want to see them, go check out my Instagram (jumpingpercheron).

It was a gorgeous day out and the beauty of Red Hills just adds to it.

 Part of why we love this area so much.  It's SO pretty!

A rider over the Hammock.

 Both sides of the 2* and 3* Hammock.

 1* Weldon's Wall.

 Water complex.

 This is the kind of stuff Denny Emerson talks about...teddy bears on xc...

 One of Buck Davidson's bazillion rides during the long hold after the tragic Kyle Carter incident.  The hold was so long Buck dismounted and his grooms walked his horse around while everyone waited.

 Jacob Fletcher kicking the water complex's ass.

 Buck Davidson again.  He retired this horse in the water complex shortly after coming through the Hammock.

Goliath Gap.