Monday, July 27, 2015

My Lovely Bobby Lumps

As can only be expected, the actual act of tack walking is extremely fucking boring.

just kidding! look how fun it is! we're so excited!

Last Monday, I finally climbed back aboard ye old beastie for fifteen minutes of methodical marching. That didn't seem too bad. But five minutes got added on each day, and by the time thirty minutes rolled around on Thursday, I had come to the realization that there are more boring things than playing on your phone while hand grazing your broken horse.

does stopping to say hello to other horses count as tack walking?
good, because the clock is still running.

Fortunately, I have the most considerate horse in the whole world. He did not want this rehab to go down in the books as a one and done sort of deal. He really did miss being a part of the action and getting ridden, so he hasn't been lame again, but there are other ways to keep everyone amused.

Let us explore them.

because we are best friends and best friends look out for each other.
look at our best friend faces.

IN THE FACE

Leg injuries can certainly be complex, but I find there are few things more exciting in horse ownership than having your horse violently throw himself to the ground in front of you while you're grazing him after a bath.

After the initial, "What the fuck is happening?!" reaction, I saw the source of Bobby's groaning, head rubbing, flailing about in the grass problem. He had stuffed his giant, stupid, mule head into a ground bee's best and was being eaten alive.

Alright, that might be a slight overreaction, but they were swarming his stupid face, and I had to dive in and drag his stupid face away because he was just like, "arhghbgdlgl;kd, they're after me!!"

we love our lumps

When I put him away for the morning, the BM, farrier, and I all had a good laugh at his expense because all you could see at that point was one prominent sting on the middle of his nose. The next morning, it was clear he'd actually been hit multiple times. I couldn't get a picture that showed the full extent, but under his chin was massively swollen, and it looked like he'd adopted a rather prominent Roman nose.

doesn't even come close to showing how much it was swollen

After two days of handfuls of Benadryl (Yum, pink candy!), he was one hundred percent normal on Saturday.

IT'S GONNA BLOW

Friday was my planned day off for Bobby before potentially incorporating a few minutes of trot either Saturday or Sunday. I went out to drop off my board check and see how his face looked. I was in flip flops and shorts because it was ten bajilli degrees outside, I had the dogs with me because we'd stopped at TSC to get puppy food (which meant they went from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned store and back again before any crazy activists go all crazy), and I wasn't planning on being there for more than two minutes.

text break because i was too busy freaking out to take a pic
of his leg on this day

After looking at his swollen, lumpy face, I glanced down at his leg. And it was HUGE. Not only was it massively, insanely swollen, it was so hot it was pulsing. I was basically like, "His leg is literally just going to blow up right now. A literal fucking explosion is about to happen."

I threw the ice boot on him and strapped that baby down tight. I took his temp, sure that we'd finally hit the cellulitis stage, but it was a normal 99.4 and Bobby happily got to grazing as I ran around debating whether to make an emergency call to the vet or not.

I texted Hubby that Bobby was going to die, and he was all, "Is he actually lame, or..." (The implication being: "Or are you just being a total fucking freak again?")

another text break because yay walking.

So after twenty minutes of being iced, I pulled the boot off to put Bobby on the longe and see how he looked. First of all, the swelling in his leg? Gone. Then, on the line, he pranced around totally sound--not a head bob in sight.

I tossed him back in his stall and left instructions for him to start getting turned out in front boots. Horse compression wear for the win.

Mother fucking lumps

But now we finally get to the really fun part of this leg rehab process. The one where we get to play the game called Name Where Those Lumps Came From.

For reference, here is the original swelling on Day One of the crazy leg:

giant, but smooth and uniform

On Saturday, this is what his leg looked like when I first got there:


The skin funk developed the day before the vet saw him two weeks ago. It was a lot worse then, but has cleared up significantly with MTG. However, when there is heat in the leg, it's centralized around the back ankle where the scabs are the worst.

After riding with boots on for fifteen minutes, including two minutes of trot each way where he was sound, the leg looked like this:


Sunday pre-ride:

a better view of a normal bobby leg on the left:
tight except for old splints and rounded ankles because racehorse.

And Sunday post-ride:


Let me reiterate that at no point since I've start riding him last Monday has he been lame. The swelling has been intermittent and never the same as far as where it is or how bad it is. He hasn't had an increase in temperature, a loss of appetite, or a change or behavior (except for being so excited to trot OMG he's a racehorse he's so fast why don't I let him go so fast.)

Here's his first day of trotting:


My plan is basically to keep slowly pushing on until he either gets better or comes up lame. Or he spikes a temp or gives me some other reason to suspect cellulitis. Right now I'm scrubbing the skin crap with Castile soap, thoroughly drying it, putting a single layer of vet wrap around the leg, and then putting the ice boot on over that for twenty minutes (because ice directly on raw skin is never a good thing).

he's been a little zoomy, but he came right out after not being ridden for a month
with zero fuss and no happy drugs to pave the way.

I'm hesitant to apply the MTG every day because applying anything every day for a long period of time kind of freaks me out. However, I do think getting the irritating skin all cleared up is going to help out some with the swelling. I can palpate every centimeter of his leg with all my might and Bobby doesn't so much as acknowledge me, but the second I start picking at that stuff, he wants nothing to do with me.


If he goes lame, or the swelling doesn't continue to decrease after each ride, then I'll obviously have the vet out to ultrasound. I'm not a completely irresponsible horse owner. I'm just not a very wealthy one either.

so happy to do the trotting.

In the meantime, he'll only be ridden three or four times this week before having a break while I'm on "vacation". Next week is supposed to be the introduction of cantering, but because of the time off he'll get, I'm going to push that back another week. Maybe we'll be jumping again by September? I'll be happy with still being sound at that point.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Let's Recap. Let's EPIC recap.

I have been gone for a very long time. Like two weeks? Possibly closer to three. That's not really very long in the broad expanse of things, but in blog land it's like for-ev-errrrr.

here's my horse. he's still alive.

Basically I didn't feel like posting anything because fuck everything.

I've been stuck in Fuck Everything mode since the day we moved up here, and while the situation has perhaps stabilized a bit, this blog has always been on the cheeky, satirical, everything-is-so-LOL side and I have definitely not been in that mindset for a long time.

I'm no good at faking that shit either. "My horse did this funny thing where he OH GOD WHY DO I HAVE TO LIVE IN THIS PLACE but it was funny because I HATE MY MISERABLE LIFEEEEE."

You know what I'm saying?

here's my horse again. all he's been doing is standing around.

So let me recap what you've missed, and what you're going to miss because updates are going to continue to be sparse for awhile longer.

Bobby threw down his worst  dressage test ever at our last show, we didn't get to jump due to monsoons, we moved barns, his hips fell off, my riding bestie came to visit, his hips got put back together, he broke his leg, I had a brief affair with a celebrity, he did a lot of grazing, I had to cancel my trip to Chicago the same day my family's dog had to be put down, I did a hunter pace on a different horse, Bobby un-broke his leg just in time for the vet to arrive and insult his butt, and I was given permission to ride my horse again.

Obviously that will require a more in-depth break down.


Dressage

Day one of our two day show was dressage. The location got moved to where we had dressage for GVRDC (and garnered a 6th place OTTB ribbon that I picked up this time around) because the ground where it's usually held was too sloppy. That meant Bobby was familiar with the area and we had a ton of room to warm up. Perfect.

Only Bobby said no. Bobby said, "Fuck that noise. Don't touch me, Mr Bit Checker. Don't look at me, Grey Horse. Don't talk to me, Ring Steward. Do not speak out of the window, Lady Judge. Did that flower just move at A? That's it. We are done here."

He was in fine Bobby form, and even threw in a patented "I WILL LITERALLY GO SIDEWAYS AND BACKWARDS OUT OF THIS RING RIGHT NOW" move when I asked him to pick the trot back up halfway through our test.

It was a complete wash, and we scored a 40.6 to get the worst score of our cumulative careers. So much for that secret hope of qualifying for Area I champs...

look at all these cool things we could have jumped!

Jumping

But there might have been a chance even with that awful, bottom-of-the-board score because it started raining when we were warming up for dressage, and it never stopped. I'd walked the cross country course that Friday after a week of no rain and it was still wet out there. With the rain, I was expecting quite a few people to withdraw.

Unfortunately, we got so much rain that the organizer cancelled cross country and all of the Prelim division completely, and required anyone that still wanted to come out for the stadium to jump in their vests. With that mandate indicating the footing was awful, the fact that it was still raining, and having a horse that's already not the best in stadium, I opted to withdraw myself so as not to give my poor horse a confidence-crashing experience.

Womp, womp.

not just standing, but walking!

New barn

Right after the cancelled show, I moved Bobby to our new barn while picking up another horse along the way. Not for me, sadly. But a girl had just moved to the area from CA (and more specifically from the Riding Warehouse team, whaaat!) and was also moving her new dude to this barn. So I grabbed him, grabbed Bobby, and dumped them both.

Our new barn is amazing. I've only been here two weeks and it already feels like home. It's not as pretty as the last place, but I still get an indoor, an outdoor, and there are little cross country jumps, plus lots of trails to explore. Plus it's just better.

not the best at staying focused long enough to pose for pictures.

Broken, Part I

Unfortunately, I've only ridden my horse once since that fucking dressage test. He managed to take his hips from "Probably need to get adjusted here eventually" to "This horse is too lame behind to do anything with until he gets adjusted."

Fortunately, the barn has a chiro on call. Unfortunately again, he was on his way to FL when BM called and we had to wait a week for him to come out.

looking super thrilled about carting her through the mud

Riding Bestie

Sarah, owner of the Dutch Hippo and frequently featured on this blog usually for falling off the Dutch Hippo, drove all the way up from PA while I was waiting on the chiro and spent the day doing pony things with me. We took Robert on a trail walk, got bullied by Siri while trying to get lunch ("Take us to Taco Bell, Siri. Wait a minute...Siri! This is a weight watchers, you whore!" True story.), went down to the track to watch the NY Oaks and Derby, stopped in to the Mormon temple for a selfie, ate a lot of cupcakes, swam the dogs, ate some more cupcakes, and I sent her on her way.

It was much needed Riding Bestie time.

well hello there.

Broken, Part II

The chiro appointment finally arrived. I grabbed Bobby to give him a quick groom and noticed quickly that his RF leg was blown the fuck up. The chiro adjusted him--all the same spots he's always out in, just worse in the hips this time (Always good when an equine professional who's working on your horse looks at a problem area and goes, "HUH.").

what we're the best at.

Broken, Part III

The barn's farrier was also there, so she dug around to see if she could find any sign of an abscess. Nope! I sweat it overnight, it looked better the next day, I iced it and wrapped it again, it looked miles worse the day after that. I caved and called the vet, but no one could fit me in until Wednesday (that being today!).

So Bobby has spent the last week with an ice boot strapped to his leg for an hour every day while stuffing his face. He doesn't mind the face-stuffing part, but you can tell he's starting to get bored with life. Every time a horse goes by him in tack, he screams his brains off. Sorry, dude. Stop fucking breaking yourself and you could get in on the action, too.

puppies!

Celebrity Affair

No, I'm just kidding. Look at my doggies instead. Aren't they cute?!

more grazing. every day grazing.

Nom Nom

Literally all my horse has been doing since June 28th.

a much younger thunder puppy and his girlfriend sophie who had to be put down a few years ago

Sorry Chicago

I had long-standing plans to go home so I could stuff my fucking face at the Taste of Chicago all weekend, but when the day I was supposed to leave rolled around, I simply couldn't come up with the money to comfortably get out there. That was pretty depressing as I only get to see my family once a year as it is.

Then, later that same day, my mom called to tell me she had to put our old man dog Thor down due to a ruptured spleen. He was thirteen years old which is a good, long life for a big dog, but we adopted him when I was a junior in high school, so he's been apart of our lives for a really long time. With the loss of my Kelpie last September, having to put Stripes down in May, and my mom having to put her two oldest cats down this year as well, it's been a pretty sucky animal existence for all.

short, fat QH neck. so adorbs.

Hunter Pace

Despite my horse being lame, my wonderful new BM put me on her brand new $10,000 Quarter Horse and told me to take him on the barn's hunter pace last weekend for funsies. I was like, "Wellll....if you really need me to...."

lol, jk. Of course I said yes! I'll take any riding, even if it is a 15hh horse with a barrel wider than if I squished all of Bobby's body into a ball. Ralphie is a western pleasure reject BM is going to turn into a hunter, and he's so obese that he needs to work off an easy hundred pounds before he can really do anything. I've been lucky enough to get to ride him a few times now, and he's such a happy, kind dude.

He did his first ever jumps while we were on the hunter pace, and despite kind of bumbling his way over them, he never said no or got upset about anything. Our group even came in second. That's right. I said group. I have barn friends now, bitches.

the offending booty.

Broken, Part IV

Are we on part four? Somewhere around there. The vet finally made it out this morning, and as horses always do, Bobby's leg looked pretty fucking perfect. Still a little edema around his ankle, and warmer in comparison to the other leg, but you'd be hard pressed to find it if you weren't obsessively looking.

Nevertheless, Vet palpated every tendon and ligament she could in the RF, compared them all to the LF, and then went back and groped the RF some more. She hoof tested him, compared to the other side, and poked him some more. I put him on the longe line both ways, and then we did a full set of flexions on all four legs.

Bobby flexed negative all around up front. Vet was pleased, but thought she'd seen some off-ness in the RH while he was on the longe, and since I was already paying for a lameness exam and this was the first time she's seen him, she went ahead and flexed his hind legs where he flexed positive on both.

We discussed his extensive history with his weak hind end. Since we've moved, we haven't done any hills (as there are none around here), and haven't really been able to trail ride. Plus he hasn't been worked in several weeks and that's never a good thing for his tush. Vet said that's probably why he looks wonky, and she wouldn't worry about it if that's his norm--just put some muscle back on his pathetic backside.

maybe we can do this again this year after all!

The Plan

All that meant I got to skip paying for an ultrasound--this time around. Vet said to start tack walking him Monday. Walk for a week, and then put him on the longe and assess soundness. If he looks good, we can trot for a week, add canter the week after that, and then slowly start jumping again. If he's still off, or if the swelling comes back at any point, it's ultrasound time to see if there's a lesion in there somewhere.

But since the leg resolved itself so well with a week of nothing more than some icing and regular turnout, she doesn't think it's really anything serious. Much better news than I was expecting!

just a few more days, robert!

There's your Poor Woman Showing update. I can't imagine anything more boring to write about than tack walking, plus this is just more work than my brain can handle at the moment, so I'll be back....whenever. If you're really dying to see what Bobby is up to, you can always follow me on instagram or even be my friend on facebook. All you'll get is pony or puppy pictures, but there are worse things.