Thursday, August 29, 2013

and I thought getting the diagnosis would be the most challenging part!

It was a very discouraging week, as after getting that initial email from my vet mentioning ridden exercises, he did not respond to any follow up emails. I kind of felt like someone had asked me if I wanted cake, shown me the cake, and then said "oh actually you can't have this cake."

And I was all:

On top of that, I somehow got pneumonia and spent the latter part of last week, all weekend, and then through Tuesday feeling like utter CRAP. On Monday night I went to the ER because I could not breathe and got some pretty hefty antibiotics. In true antibiotic fashion, they made me feel both better and a whole lot worse.

I was back in the land of the living finally yesterday, just in time for my vet's office to call and request permission to give my barn owner copies of Lucy's vaccination records (sure, no problem). While I had them on the phone, I said, what the HECK is going on with my horse? Can she be ridden? Is she still supposed to be doing just five minutes in the fauxssoa? I expressed that I was pretty darn frustrated at this point, but I knew things were crazy over there with my vet leaving the practice, so I was trying my hardest to be patient. The worst part was when the lady I was talking to checked Lucy's records and said the vet who had emailed me initially about starting under saddle work had written in her notes that she was back under saddle at a walk, but had never told me this!! The lady felt really bad that I had been more or less forgotten about so they forwarded my info onto another vet in the practice and told me she would call me within a day to discuss a plan for Lucy.

Just a couple hours later the vet called just to tell me she was still out on the road and hadn't reviewed Lucy's file yet, but she had gotten my request and would be contacting me in the morning the next day. I was so impressed that she called just to tell me she'd call me! Finally, communication!

This morning she called me first thing and said she had looked at all of the reports from my old vet and Tuft's. She asked how Lucy was doing and I told her about the lunging and her great attitude. She said she'd like to come out and see Lucy next Thursday so that a) she can meet her and b) she can watch her go on the lunge line, palpate her back, and do a basic lameness exam to ensure she is really ready to go back under saddle.

So, fingers crossed that this is the final hurdle before Lucy can have a job again! I hope we can be back to doing totally awesome things like this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and most definitely this:

And I'm sure at that point we'll both need some Sore No More, which I will hopefully win in Hillary's giveaway over at Equestrian at Hart :D :D :D (she's having a contest; go check it out)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

hi, friends!

Life with Lulu has been trucking along. She had a few days on the lunge line where she seemed not quite as fluid as she had before. Not sure if it was actually related to the work she had been doing, or if she had tweaked something in the paddock, or if I was just plain seeing things that didn't exist! She wasn't even lame, but just didn't look perfect. She got about two weeks off to chill out, just to be safe. During that time, she needed new shoes (and was re-shod), promptly lost a front shoe, and we had to wait almost a week for it to get tacked back on.

After calling the vet's office and hearing that they didn't even want to look at her until October, my vet finally emailed me back a few days ago:

Hi Kate,

How are things going, I know the last time we talked we were suggesting building back muscle with something like a Pessoa? How is that going?

Let me know and we can perhaps talk about ridden exercise too.


As you can imagine, the horse went back on the lunge line asap!!! Yesterday was the first day back and she started out looking pretty stiff and choppy but towards the end, positively floated around. It was beautiful to watch!

Lu has been transforming back to her lovely dapply self, which means one thing and one thing only: WINTER IS COMING. She's growing in her winter coat, shedding out the sunbleached summer coat, and looking quite unique:

Friday, August 16, 2013


Having a broken horse is really starting to wear on me. The fall weather is beginning to peek through the heat and humidity, and all I want to do is put Lucy back to work. We had the best rides in the early fall and it kills me that she is just standing around doing nothing. Everyone at the barn has been out on the trails and having fun and I just feel sad about the whole thing. I am not sad that they're having fun, of course, but I am sad I can't be out there too!

I actually did get to go on a trail ride last week, on one of the other horses at the barn. I had a great time but wished that I were on Lucy :)

I am not used to chestnut ears pricked in front of me, but this horse was
nothing short of a complete gentleman the entire ride. He is a sweetheart.

I called the vet's office yesterday to ask about another ultrasound appt to check the healing progress in her back. The receptionist looked at the notes from the July 1 visit and said I'd probably be wasting my time and money at this point, because the vet didn't feel she'd be rideable before September or October. I felt very sorry for myself, honestly. If we're already going to be in October, then it will be getting cold fast after that. We all know Lu is not a cold weather horse. I guess I might as well wait until the Spring? Give her an extra six months just to be safe? I don't know.

When I arrived at the barn yesterday after having a sob fest about her state of brokenness, I cleaned Lucy's stall and then went out to her paddock. She usually comes over and says hi, but she stood there awkwardly. Finally she GIMPED over to me. I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. I checked her out and couldn't find anything wrong. No kicks from Brantley, no swelling or heat, no blood. Then I saw she was missing the shoe on her LF. I watched her move in her paddock a bit more and saw she was just ridiculously foot-sore on that left front. Ironically that foot still had the bell boot on it, but the other front foot did not have a bell boot, and DID have a shoe. Weird. At least it's better than a real injury. I hope my farrier can come out in the next day or two!

In other fun news, EHV-1 (Equine Herpes Virus, or Rhinopneumonitis) has been diagnosed in multiple horses at the same farm just 10 miles or so from where Lucy lives. It's a bit of an odd case. Here is a blurb from the email my vet sent out:

"Interesting features: 5 horses on the affected premises, 2 have remained normal, 2 have mild signs and hopefully will recover, 1 euthanized, none of the horses on the affected (index) premises have been vaccinated for years; none of the horses on the affected premises have left the farm for years; neighbor has three horses and are all clinically normal, all are vaccinated against EHV, and one has gone to events, but not since late June; horses from index premises broke fence last week and had fence line contact with neighbor's horses."

I'm not sure if a horse that has been vaccinated can be an a-symptomatic carrier, and one of the vaccinated horses gave the non-vaccinated horses EHV-1?

Lucy gets vaccinated for EHV-1 every year in late Spring. The vaccine is good for six months and my vet assured me that she would be covered through the fall. Still, this is pretty scary. I really appreciate that my vet's office was so proactive getting the word out to us all.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I am a terrible blogger.

Sorry for the hiatus, guys. Life just got crazy!

Lucy continues to trot on a circle a few times a week, and I've started letting her canter one time around if she looks really good. She holds her leads behind, which is a huge improvement. She seems to be taking it all in stride, though I am bored to tears with lunging. Yesterday we switched it up a bit and went on a hike in the woods. She walked with her nose on the ground almost the entire time, sniffing everything like a bloodhound. I thought that was quite convenient because she's supposed to be going long and low to stretch out her back and build up her muscles, which is exactly what she did all by herself yesterday! No fauxssoa necessary.

Lucy had a tough week. On Monday she kicked me in the leg when I was trying to clean her hind feet out. She tried to take her RH back from me as I was holding it and we got into a bit of a struggle; her pulling her foot back and me trying to wrangle it mid-air, and I have a nice big bruise to prove it. It was the hardest I've ever been kicked. Again, she wasn't necessarily aiming for me, but I wasn't bright enough to realise it was a lose-lose situation and give her back her foot, regroup, and try again. Instead, I tried to battle it out. Pretty stupid!

On Tuesday, she got her feet done and was a total ass for the farrier. Again, all hind end issues. Maddy had her dog at the barn and he was barking at another person as a horse was walking up from the outdoor and the farrier was trying to pick up her RH and she had a total meltdown overload, broke the crossties, knocked over the farrier's kit with all the nails in it, etc. It was a mess. After that she behaved better but I felt really upset and discouraged about it.

On Wednesday, she had an appointment with the acupuncture vet and did really well. He got five needles in again, without any sort of dramatics. I was really happy with her.

I had scheduled a massage/chiro appt for Thursday to see if there was anything going on in her hind end to make her act like such a jerk but unfortunately it was canceled last second. That's why we went on a walk, instead.

Lauren and Charlie moved down to Pennsylvania at the end of last month and we have a new boarder, a sweet old Quarter Horse gelding named Rowdy. He's actually the opposite of "rowdy" - he is very quiet and well-behaved. He has been a nice addition to the barn.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Equine Aid Winners!!

Congratulations to the following readers, winner of the Equine Aid contest! Each will receive five packets of Equine Aid, courtesy of the company.

NS Rider





I've emailed all of you, so make sure to check your spam folder if you haven't received it, or email me at

YAY!! And thanks to Equine Aid for sponsoring this contest! Click the logo below to check out their website.

Cairo does agility!

With Lucy out of work, I've been feeling lost and bored. I miss having goals and looking forward to something. I miss seeing the happy look on her face after a nice jump school. We are both already bored with lunging and I haven't even been lunging her very much at all. When I do lunge her, though, she looks very supple and bouncy through her hind end, a marked improvement for sure!!

I decided to sign Cairo and myself up for a weekly beginner agility class at a local dog kennel and training centre. Cairo frequently jumps the jumps at the barn and does it in style, might I add. I thought she would be excellent at agility and she proved me right on Monday at her first class. My friend Cassie took some photos for me:

first time through the little tyre CUTE

up the a-frame! she had hesitated at this, unsure at first, but with each attempt
she got more and more confident and by the end of the class she was powering
up it and daintily but confidently coming down the other side.

not even joking here; she STUDIED the other dogs as they did their runs

also, check out her adorable new collar. stylish!

enticing her down the dog walk, which is like the A Frame but with a flat part
between the ramps.

down the ramp of the dog walk

good girl! the treats du jour were 100% beef hot dogs, the best I could find.

I don't want to eat crappy cheap hot dogs, and I don't want my dog to eat them either!

dog walk again

A frame

so proud of herself!
Everything I know about dog showing, I learned from that hilarious movie Best in Show so I will have to scope out that scene for myself before deciding to persue competition with her, but I was so impressed with her willing attitude and affinity for agility that I know she would love to keep going with it! At the end of the class, we even did a little course, including jumps, the A frame, the dog walk, the tire jump, and the tunnel. Such a smart doggie!