Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Milo Has a Wonky Ear!

When I pulled into the driveway at Painted Valley Farms this afternoon and looked out into Milo's pasture, first thing I noticed was that the little bugger got his fly mask off (again!!).

As I got out of the truck and walked towards him, his ears (or I should say EAR) pricked forward. And one was left all wonkified (like the new word?) lopped to the side.

Oh Noes! Poor Milo.

Upon inspection I saw no swelling, felt no heat, but did see some dried goopy stuff that looked like it was formerly seeping from the lower part of his ear (right where it starts to go into the ear at the base). I cleaned it off (and out) with a small wet sponge and than poked my finger inside for some exploration (much to Milo's displeasure, but because he's a good boy he let Mom explore). Found no type of obstruction, cut, or anything inside.

Hmm. Called the vet for an opinion and (of course) left a message with reception with hopes of a reply. I dont feel that this requires veterinary care, I just wanted to get his opinion on how I may be able to better clean, explore, and generally make Milo more comfortable because he is obviously sore to it. 

Now the mystery is how did that happen? Champ has been back up in the barn for a few days so it couldnt have been a kick, bite or anything like that (not that there was swelling or heat). I remembered the missing flymask. Ah, maybe he rubbed it on something in attempts to get the mask off?

This may be the culprit:

And the evidence (this is not a photo of where the mask was laying, I just put it on a post for a better photo):

Hmm, but wasnt it is RIGHT ear that was wonky, not the left as the condition of the fly mask would show?

Thats my only lead. He must have done something whilst getting the mask off. I figured since I will most obviously be buying a new halter, I will order the muzzle than too. In the meantime, no mask for Milo (meaning a LOT of sunscreen for him - sorry Milo, shoulda thought about THAT when you ripped your mask off and tore it to shreds!) and attempts at cleaning his ear and making him comfortable. Update tomorrow on his condition than.

Sad Day

Dont you hate it when you order something in and when they get here they either dont fit or dont match the description? The boots I ordered back in March came in AFTER the rodeo (ok I guess) but they dont fit. Plus, the website said they were a single stitch welt, when in reality, they are a double.

These are them, the Justin Stampede Punchy. Too wide in the instep and heel, but if I gota B width they would be too tight on the bow, and if I got an 8 instead of 8.5, too short in length. Oh well. Bad to the drawing board.

It seems I cannot get anything else but Ariats to fit well, but I cant seem to find one that I want! Bear in mind, the boots I get next are SUPPOSED to replace the Ariat Probaby's for riding.

Any Ariats that you LOVE? I would like a wide square and cowboy heel. Ive been mulling over the Ariat Rodeobaby's 
but am not sure about the color (they also come in a blue top - but I already have a pair with a blue top!), and whether or not to get the short height (8") or stick with that I have with the Probaby's and Crossfire (10" and 11"). Im concerned that the shorter height may be a problem in the winter mud. In addition, I know that the shorter heel starts to hurt my heel and back after too long of wearing.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feeding Frenzy

Heres a topic of interest (at least to me): food aggression.

Heres the story:
When I bought Milo I knew nothing about his feed schedule or attitude. It wasnt until about a week after I brought him home, the gentleman whose farm I boarded at told me, alarmed, that Milo had kicked at him in the stall while feeding him. I was shocked, but not too suprised since he was a new horse and I was still figuring him out. I apologized and told him I would work with him on it.

My first episode with him was about a month later at the County Fair. I walked into his stall with the hay net and proceeded to the back corner. He was pinning his ears so I swatted at his face. He swung around so fast and double barrel kicked at me, narrowly missing me but making contact with the water bucket. Being that I was at the fair, I couldnt do too much that week to correct him, so to get by until we got home I would grab his halter and keep his head by me while I fed.

When we got home I worked with him (in the pasture) and if he was aggressive for food I would send him away from it with my training stick and he had to wait until he gave me a polite attitude and stood still. Seemed to fix the problem.

When we moved to a new facility about a week later I worked with him in his stall and paddock. When he was aggressive, I sent him out into the paddock with my stick and he had to wait patiently outside until I was out and the door was closed. Problem solved. He even got good to where if you entered the stall with the wheelbarrow he knew to leave the stall and stand in the paddock out of the way.

We moved again about six months later, where he was again kept in a stall and paddock (with pasture turnout in the day). Problem was averted however because the feeders dropped food down from the loft above and never had to go into the stall. I soon learned that his behavior still lingered when one evening my boyfriend was at the barn with me. Wes went into Milo's stall for whatever reason, and when he went to pull him away from his food, Milo swung his rear to Wes and kicked out at him. I ran in and kicked him out of the stall again like I had before. Worked on the problem again and established that when I was in the stall with food he had to wait patiently in the paddock.

When we moved again (again Milo in a stall and paddock) we hadnt had any issues. When I put him away for the evening, he had to to wait until I told him he could eat (what I do when I let him go-anywhere, stall, pasture, arena, etc- is I take his halter off and ask him to turn his head towards me by snapping or wiggling my finger, and keep it there until I say ok or release the "asking pressure"). I noticed that he was fine, but once told "ok" he always swung around to his food away from me, which seems like a good idea expect for the fact that that means briefly he is showing his rear to me.

Ive been working pretty consistantly on him keeping his hind end away from me, disengaging etc. and he most best on a halter and lead. Ask him without a halter on and he swings it towards me, not necessarily always aggressively but still being rude.

I started to notice that when I would feed occasionally on the weekends (covering for someone else) he pinned his ears at the feeders but never did anything else (granted, the stalls have feeder doors, so again, the feeders do not have to go into the stall). I would swat at his face and wait until he gave me a good expression. Of course however, the feeders dont do this so he still has the habit of pinning ears for feeding.

To get to the point, this past weekend at the rodeo Milo was kept in a pole stall. When I walked towards his stall with hay and grain in hand, he would have ears up until about the last two feed where he would pin them back at me. What I did was swat at his face again. First time, he swung his rear around again. Now I was a bit dumbfounded; hadnt we addressed this before? Than it hit me: he has problems swinging his rear around in a stall. In a stall and paddock, I can always send him away-theres room, in a stall I cannot.

So heres the question: what can I do to address this in the stall? What exercises can I do outside of the stall? Off the halter?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Phew! Fantastic Rodeo!

Back from the rodeo. Wow what a weekend. A lot of fun, and quite tiresome.

Heres the long and the short of it:
Saturday performance went well with a few spacing issues, but overall not too bad. Milo performed his best in this one.
We also did two sponsor runs:
Video from Saturday performance:

Sunday our performance overall was much better, however Milo did his worst in that one.

Sunday was our day to move the cows out of the arena in four events. Milo absolutely loved it. He was a spitball of energy!

Not the greatest of photos, they dont show off how well Milo actually did with the cows, but I do appreciate them anyways! Oh yeah, and my boyfriend's truck was the pick up truck for the barrels both nights. Here is Sunday:
I have more photos, but Im short of time. Maybe I will get a photobucket album of them and post them on there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rodeo Time!

Tonight we are hauling out to the Thunderbird Pro Rodeo! This is my third year, and Milo's second (technically third as well, but first year he wasnt used in the actual rodeo).

So, I will be gone ridin this weekend. Posts to follow after the rodeo next week!

Have a fun weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cute Pictures and Vets

Firstly, I wanted to post these adorable photos of Milo that my friend Heather took of him the other day. Shes been putting her three year old paint mare Missy out with him for a few hours a day so she can enjoy some grass and company.

Playing ball tukers him out!
I guess she took his mask off, and than he took it from her!

Milo looking majestic!

In veterinary news, I called Dr Hills and he said that the fact that Milo is sound means dont raise the alarm. The fact that there is fluid increasing could raise some concern but nothing at this time, only if he gets worse/lame.

He did say that if I really wanted to know what was going on and what I could expect to be able to do with Milo in his lifetime, I could spring for Orthoscopic Surgery, that would pretty much be an investigative/exploratory surgery to try and find out what is going on. $4K tune to that. Out of the budget for sure.

He said that another option could be to do a hock injection and than us that as a baseline; what does it help him with, if anything, how long does it help him for, etc. And try and determine how often he might need the injections if that be the case. A tune of $400 a pop. I cant see spending 400/6 months for the rest of his life.

In the meantime, Dr Hills said I should continue with the routine I am doing with him; keep him on the supplements (expected for the rest of his life now) and continue riding him at the lesser degree that I have been doing. He said if I wanted to, I could try and push the envelope a bit (ie more stops on the haunches, turns, etc) but keep a sharp eye on any changes that could happen, and back off accordingly if necessary. Of course, I dont want to push anything and possibly make something worse, so I dont think that I will be doing that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh Boy

Well I arrived at the barn and found this cuteness out in the pasture:

I went to groom him and saddle up for a ride, when I ran my hands along his hocks briefly and they felt larger. Upon a closer look I saw that not only were his fluid pockets still there (on the outside) he now had fluid pockets on the reverse (inside) side. Oh no. That cant be good. Skipped the ride and longed him for about 20 minutes to see if there was any lameness. No.

So I called Dr. Hills but left a message with reception. Waiting for a phone call today...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our Future

Today's post on Fugly made me think.

Ive had a few people ask me about what I would do with Milo say if he cannot chase the cows and do reining like what I am training for depending on the condition of his hocks. Would I sell him?

My answer is a resounding No. For a few reasons. Firstly, Im not that type of owner. I love my horse too much. Just because he might not be capable (hypothetically) of doing the discipline that I specifically want to do, would not mean that say I couldnt trail ride him, or use him for any other reason. Or even if he was deemed unridable, I would continue to keep him. Milo has given too much to me and taught me so much there is no way that I could dump him somewhere (besides I would hate to see anyone else own MY horse, Im jealous that way).

Secondly, and this is hard for me to admit, but I would not make that mistake twice. As some of you may know about what happened with my first horse, Koalt. Simply, I retrained him as a 17 year old and kept him until he was 22. At 21, he went lame. Understandable, he was an old horse. I was 15. I worked off board, and I wanted a horse I could ride (and my concern at that time was one that I could compete on). I did keep him for another year, gave him the best care I could and loved on him very much. Finally, I decided I was going to give him away and get a new, younger horse. I gave him away to a farm in Yakima. And I have sadly not seen him since. It hurt a lot. I thought it was saddness for my loss, but honestly, a lot of it was guilt. I knew I should have done him better. I tried to make myself feel better by telling myself that I didnt "dump him" but gave im away to a loving home. And that it is, but the fact is is that I dumped him when he wasnt useful anymore. That horse taught me everything. He was my best friend. It saddens me to this day. And I dont even know how he is anymore.

I will not do that again. I will not do it to Milo or any other horse. They deserve better than that. After packing kids around as a lesson horse their whole life, or giving you his all every ride, they deserve to enjoy the cookie filled retirement that they earned.

Milo has a safe forever home with me. Regardless of what my agenda calls for and thats that.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rides and muzzles

Its so funny how Milo knows the difference between rodeo/drill practices, and general riding.

For instance: last Sunday we had drill practice, with mostly lope throughs now that we only have three practices left until the rodeo. Its funny, at practices, Milo can ge heavy on the hands, throwing his head in the air, slow to respond on neck and leg aids, and flipping his nose away from the bit when asked to slow down. He just gets so excited. And than when we ride at home, he is perfectly listening, rounded, and content. Its not good. He knows at practices that I cant really make him do otherwise being one handed and holding onto a flag, and needing to keep/set pace with everone else. I cant just stop him and school him in the middle of a "run through". Its been a bit nerving.

But on a better note, Milo was a dream yesterday. Rode him on a loose rein, he felt great. Listened well, rounded, and worked. It was a fantastic ride.

Switching topics, as Ive mentioned Milo is on pasture now. Which is great. But in just the last few days, the grass has grown remarkably. Plus, he only eats his grain, ditches the hay, and goes back out to eat more grass. Im a bit concerned about Milo over grazing the delicious spring grass. So Im considering getting a grazing muzzle to put on before work, and take off after. Im looking at something like this:

It attaches to the halter, so no real worrries about him being able to get it off. What is your take on muzzles? Have you tried a certain type that works better than another?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Today a pleasure horse, tomorrow ...?

I cleaned pastures yesterday (including Milo's!) where Milo thought that tiping over the wheelbarrow was great fun, than decided I would just have a quick bareback ride. So I brushed him off quickly and grabbed by headstall.

I got on and he felt a little squirly at first, but I worked him over some poles lightly to get him to lift his back and hold himself a bit, and he calmed right down.

And I mean waaay down. I jogged him around a bit and really was just looking for him to keep his nose into the circle as I worked him in large(ish) circles. Milo suprised me by not only doing that, but collecting and thoroughly rounding himself in his front all the way to the rear. And we plodded along like this a bit so since Milo was working I figured I should too so I worked on a correct bareback eq. It was a lot of fun actually. And it was really cool to see how focused Milo was on his job. And he really acted and moved as a bonefide pleasure horse. Interesting...I suppose 24/7 turnout time is aiding in keeping him pretty level since he doesnt have a bunch of built up stall crazy energy now.