Friday, October 26, 2012

It's that Time of Year Again

Yep its officially time to clip off Milo's winter fuzz, round one. This is a little late for our usual first clip, but we had a very odd early fall here and when he would have normally been clipped, or at least wearing his first blanket, the temperatures were still reaching 75 during the day. And then we have had all these fiascos with keeping him in his stall, so I figured I would wait until I could let him out again before blanketing or clipping. He had grown such a nice, fluffy (and clean!) coat while in the comfort of the stall, but after bringing him back into work now, that same furry coat was now becoming a nuisance with cool-out time. So I scheduled with my friend for round one of his two seasonal clips.

But first, I let him out into the arena to enjoy his cuteness of the furry coat, and he really enjoyed the maple leaves (is that OK for them?!)

Awww so cute red furry Milo! I will miss the ease of grooming while you were in stall prison
Last hoorah for the fuzzy red coat
Caitlyn almost finished with the first clip job. Milo was a very good boy! He now sports his "red dun" look for the winter.
With the clip finished and his blanket protecting him he was now allowed back into his paddock after three long weeks of stall prison. He trotted a few steps and dropped to the ground for a good roll.

Aww Milo thanks Caitlyn for the nice clip job, and Colt enjoys the horse breath (we are starting him young!)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On The Up and Up

While I was gone on our hunting trip, my friend who was taking care of Milo for me, phoned to say that Milo was doing much better. The cut on his face was healing nicely and starting to scab over, and the swelling in his leg was entirely gone! I was pessimistic, however, even when she assured me that another boarder also thought it was gone. I still kept Milo on stall prison for the leg and cut at least until I was home to see it myself.

We got back late Tuesday evening but the Boyfriend had promised we could stop out at Milo before going home. I was so excited to see him, rushing to his stall. I rubbed his face a moment then promptly checked his fetlock. No swelling! A little stocking up in both of them from being in the stall, but the swelling was gone! I was so excited.

The next morning I arrived early before work and thoroughly cleaned his stall, then wrapped all four legs before taking him to the arena. (I should add that I really like a stall-kept clean! No muddy feet!) I walked him on the longeline for five minutes. He was really wily and kept turning his head to me and sizing me up, "Should I do it?" his glace asked. I growled my answer to him. But occasionally he would toss his head around and leap forward. I was nervous of him injuring his leg when he started leaping into the air. Our five minute walk was done and I wasnt going to let him trot on the longe, so I walk trotted him around the arena, five minutes both ways. He tried to nip at the line a few times, but my verbal disagreement would make him stop.

After ten minutes (five both ways) at the trot we had both had our exercise! Another five minute walk on the longe and I returned him to his stall. I unwrapped his legs and felt no heat and swelling. Yay!

But I wanted to check on him after eight hours had passed, so after work, and in the dark, I headed to the barn again, even with my tummy rumbling. Milo was quietly waiting for me in his stall (clean! I cant get enough of that). I led him out into the cross ties, then wrapped all four again, then cleaned out his cut. Leading him to the arena, he had a little pep in his step, asking to trot a few times. Poor guy sure is eager to get out of his stall no matter how much Mom enjoys it.

Five minutes at the walk and he was placidly eating maple leaves off the arena floor as he walked past them. I decided I would try the trot on the longe. He was decent, an occasional head toss, mischievous eye, but after five minutes at the trot the real fun would begin at the canter. I wondered if I could even keep him cantering for five minutes on the longe. If you remember, I practically have to beg him to canter for an entire circle. But I tried it since I cant canter him in hand, and he was a little pistol (to put it nicely). No real tearing around, but a whole lotta attitude. I was nervous of his antics but my firm verbal reprimands only made him want to trot. After I finally did get five at the canter, another five were needed at the trot (he not had his head to the ground and was puffing), then finally five at the walk.

I checked his legs after taking the wraps off. Still tight! Even with five minutes added canter. Maybe he was just fine. I figure that this morning I will ride the same twenty five minute interval and see how he does.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So Here's What Happened...

Tuesday afternoon I get a phone call just before I was getting ready to leave the house for the barn. It was a boarder there who owns the Fjords. She said that Milo had a nasty cut on his face. The blood left my head and I waited quietly on the phone to hear more. She described what it looked like. I was a bit speechless but asked if I needed to call the vet. She told me that he would be fine until I got there, but that decision would need to be made by me. I scarfed down the remaining cinnamon raisin bagel I was eating and headed out the door.

Boyfriend was on his way home from a week-long hunting trip to Montana with his Dad. I called him to tell him what was going on, and would let him know if I would need the vet. Tears started streaming down my face as I worried for Milo and what I might see when I got there. The boarder that phoned me sounded concerned and a little shaken on her end of the telephone, and I could only imagine how bad the cut might be. I wondered how I would get Milo to the vet with Boyfriend not being available and my truck unable to haul a trailer. I made a few plans in my head, but didnt phone my friends unless I knew I would need a ride.

I flew into the barn like a bat out of hell and raced towards Milo's stall. He stood placidly in his paddock, but met me at the stall door, probably knowing that Mom was now here to help him. My heart sank when I saw all the blood on his face that had dripped from the wound. As I got a closer look at him, I was relived to see that the cut wasnt as large or horrid as I was imagining. I led him to the wash rack and began to slowly clean the cut and dried blood. Before treating with any disinfectant, I phoned the vet, describing the cut to his assistant who said she would have my vet call me back.

In the meantime, I closed off Milo's exit door and tossed a few flakes of hay for him to keep him occupied and safe while I waited for the vet to call. I then walked the fenceline in his paddock and turnout pasture. I was furious with myself and the situation, especially guilty that today was the first day I allowed him back on turnout. Milo has also been ailed by a intermittent swelling in his left rear fetlock region since the prevous Thursday. Daily I had been cold hosing the area, and laying my hands on it and the other to compare the differences.

Initially when I first noticed the swelling it was only because he stepped funny as I led him from his pasture. I wondered, as I continued to watch him walk soundly, if he had simply mis-stepped on a rock or something. But I walked him up and down the concrete and noticed when he turned over that leg that he was a little tender on it. I reached down and felt no heat, but did note some minor swelling. As the days unfolded since then the swelling either increased or decreased, but never seemed to cause heat or lameness even after I shortly lunged him at a walk and trot and tried a flexion-test that the vet always uses. He always seemed to come out sound. But why the swelling?

To avoid making anything worse I not only wasnt riding him, but also requested to keep him in his stall and paddock only, no turnout, and play the cautious "wait-and-see" route. When confinement only seemed to cause some "stocking up" I decided to try turnout and see if that would help at all. Still concerned it might exacerbate the problem, I tried it anyway since confinement hadnt solved any problems.

Here I was now on the first day I allowed turnout again and now my horse sustained an icky cut on his face. Was it from a fenceline in the turnout? Or maybe the stall or paddock? Either way, I was upset that maybe my allowing the pasture time might have caused the problem. I searched the fencelines.

Although I didnt find any sort of obvious bloody stain or hair loss on fences or the two stumps in the pasture, I was now pretty upset by all the exposed nail heads I saw. But then the vet called.

He requested I send a photo to him of the cut, which I did, then we discussed what should be done about it. Because there was no "extra skin" or skin flap around the cut site, stitches werent really an option. But also for the fact that the cut was not down to the bone or effecting any nerves or serious tissue, my vet thought it wasnt entirely necessary to come out or make an appointment. He did advise, however, that if I noticed nasal discharging, ooze from the injury site, or any increased swelling, to phone him. I then asked him what of the swelling in his fetlock, but naturally without seeing or putting his hands on the leg he couldnt diagnose anything over the phone. He did agree though that if I was playing the conservative route that cold hosing, exercise, and limited moving would be a good option to try, for it it was something like minor tendinitis that would be the first treatment route. I asked if walking him down the road for ten minutes and looking for any change would be reasonable, which he agreed to. I didnt exactly feel better, but at least it seemed I was doing the right thing.

I called by Boyfriend and told him the news, and he suggested that when we get back from our trip if the swelling hasnt subsided that we would take Milo into the vet, and he could then check on the progress of the cut at the same time. I agreed that that would be a good idea.

Oh yeah, did I mention that tomorrow we are leaving for Mule Deer hunting on the other side of the Cascades for five days? Of course something like this happened right before I left somewhere and would now need to employ a friend to clean the wound, cold hose his leg, feed nightly, clean his stall, and take my big dog for a walk down the road.

My vet recommended rinsing the cut daily with water, then disinfecting with Batadine solution, then treating with anitbiotic Neosporin before putting him back in his stall. Stall confinement was the best option to ensure minimal infection opportunity, and with the leg swelling too might be a better route. However, as stated before, that now would pose the issue of more responsibility needing to be given to a friend to take over while I'm gone. Not only will that require more stall cleaning and bedding (which is no problem for me, but I am pretty anal about pee spots and not with him staying in there for a whole week, requires some diligent cleaning I am hoping my friend will provide), but Milo might just turn into a really stir crazy butt for whoever handles him. I hope that the short walk might help calm his mind while hopefully helping the leg, but am worried about his behavior with someone else.

Let me just say, a few pages of details notes and instructions will be left with the caregiver, and hopefully everything goes smoothly. For now, I cant do much, but I do know that when Boyfriend and I return I will be putting some serious consideration into what I can do about the fenceline I have now discovered is really lacking in structure and safety, and deciding if I need to take the next step and haul out to the vet. Oh joyous vacation coming up that will now be wrought with worry.

Poor Baby. Day Two of treatment, Milo being patient when cold hosing

Milo keeps some humor though despite his cut and stall prison.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poor Milo :(

I will update more tomorrow, but here is what I found my horse like (actually, this is after I cleaned it out):

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Favorite Paint

Obviously, my favorite Paint is Milo. Here are some photos from the other day. I took video but my camera is dead and I have to charge it before uploading and, well, I just havent gotten to it yet.

"Hello Momma...I was a good boy, can I go back to my stall now?" 
I have started using the "knot method" for his tail. I chopped off about two inches (needed to be done) then knotted it up. I think there are seven knot strands total. His tail looks really short now after the cut and knotting, but by the end of winter it should be long and full.

Then it was time for Mom's chores. Milo initially made it look like he was going to help...

But really he just scrutinized my work and got in the way. :)

This is Milo's best "standing on a pedestal" impersonation

And totally being in the way of the wheelbarrow...
"But I'm so cute Mom"
"Who needs to clean poop when you can love on meeeeee"
Chores eventually got done and I got this great glamour shot