Saturday, May 30, 2009
Over the past few days, Faith has been getting turned out in the arena. Since it has rained basically non-stop for the better half of the week, the ground is saturated and dry ground is nonexistent. Due to our ongoing battle with thrush, (which we seem to currently be winning - yay!) I do not want to turn her out on wet ground. Faith has been hanging out with Dominic in the arena, munching hay side-by-side with him, chasing him away when he takes more than his fair share.
Faith has thankfully shown progress with her front end lameness. Although she is not yet 100% back to normal, she appears more sound with each passing day. She is still stiff throughout her body, but she has "cowboy'ed-up" and is dealing with everything like the trooper she is.
That being said, today was probably one of the scariest days I've had in a long time with her...
Let me preface this by saying that Faith normally does not lay down to roll or rest, even at night. At the absolute most, maybe two mornings each week she will have shavings in her mane and tail. I've always thought it peculiar that a horse whose body has seen so much stress doesn't lay down and relax very often.
A few times in the past, I have seen her roll in the arena. She goes down like any normal horse, but standing back up for her is a little different. She will get her front legs out in front of her, then sit up like a dog. Most horses at this moment would lunge forward to get their hind end underneath them, and push themselves upright. Faith isn't like the others though. She sits up like a dog for about 15-20 seconds, looks around, shakes her head, and then pushes herself up. She just needs a few seconds to get her bearings straight and rest before the big heave-ho.
Today I checked on her in the arena, and she was happily munching on some hay. Within a minute after I entered, Faith walked away from her lunch and meandered around the far end of the arena to find a spot to roll. She circled a few times with her nose to the ground, and finally went down on her knees, and then onto her right side. She rolled, kicked up a bunch of sand, and even managed to roll all the way over onto her left side. She flipped herself upright, rubbed the side of her face on her leg, let out a sneeze, and then pushed herself up into a sitting position. She waited as she normally does before she stands, and then tried to get up. But she couldn't. She fell back down, her hind end too weak to do its job. My heart sank into my stomach...
Faith quickly sat back up and put her front legs out in front of her again. This time she waited a little bit longer and tried again. Nothing. Back down she went.
She tucked her front legs under her and took a break for a minute. Then back up again with her fronts, a short pause, and an attempt with the hinds. Still nothing. All she managed to due was turn herself about 90 degrees.
Although her strength was fading, her attitude was building. She was growing more angry and frustrated with each attempt. Her mind decided to do what her body couldn't, and she finally put her all into it. Her back end came up, her hind legs caught her weight, and she made it. She was quite shaky on her legs, but she was vertical.
I'm not sure if it was a lack of coordination, or a lack of strength, but she was struggling much more than she normally does. The vet will be coming out soon to pull Cori's stitches, and I will discus this at length with him. I'll be checking on her all through the night tonight.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
"I have three paint mares. We were looking at buying a well trained pony for my younger sisters, who are 8 and 10. They outgrew their little Shetland pony a year ago, so she got a new home.
I was looking all winter, but even with the bad economy, well trained ponies still sell for more than we could afford-even though we were just looking for a trail riding and walk trot pony. I checked a few auctions out, nothing grabbed me or went for over our price limit.
Then the beginning of April, I want to a pony and riding horse auction. There were a lot of well trained, shiny ponies for sale. Then a pony caught my eye in the catalog-just a bit before she was to be sold. (She was 10 in a lineup of over 150 horses and ponies.)
White pony mare, 12 years old, kid broke to ride, easy to catch.
So, I finally found the little girl. She was pretty pitiful looking. Huge, fat, wormy belly, yet very ribby with her backbone and hips protruding, and hooves that needed a trim. Dirty and dusty coat - a far cry from most of the ponies with gleaming coats and ribbons in their manes.
They had two kids on her bareback to ride her in. She took it without complaint, and when they trotted her, I saw that she was sound. I won the bid at $50.
She was mine! I called my dad, who was a bit surprised since he didn't even know I was at an auction, but he brought the trailer and we took her home.
She's since gotten a hoof trim, lots of grooming, and a bath that made her coat a lot better. She gets hay and a pasture with all the grass she can eat. And several small meals of grain and beet pulp a day. And, I started deworming her slowly-with just half doses at a time. She has some welsh pony in her for sure. My farrier loved her when he did her feet. She may be a bit older than 12, but can't be over 15-16...
She's gained enough weight to be ridden now. She's proved to be a very safe kids pony-they can do virtually anything with her, and though she has a bit of a pony attitude, she's never tried to bite, kick, buck or any of the sort. For several weeks the girls had to feed her three times a day and handwalk and handgraze her twice a day, and that helped them to bond.
She's just what we was looking for in a pony. Though she hasn't trail ridden, she is so quiet I know she'll be fine. The girls want to do contesting with her, so I set up some barrels and she walked the pattern today like she's been doing it her whole life. She was a barrel pony at some point in her life.
In another month or two nobody will even reconize her that saw her at first. I bet I could easily sell her for $800 or so. But she's not going anywhere!
Her name? It was "Snowy"-but with a new beginning, she needed a new name, so we decided to call her "Mercy"."
But wait, the story doesn't end there! This is the email I received a few days ago...
"I emailed you my rescue story of Mercy, the little white pony I got at an auction about two months again. Well, Mercy had a big surprise! She gave birth to a little colt Saturday night. About a week prior she started bagging, then waxing. Turns out her potbelly was NOT just from worms and malnutrition. Mom and baby are doing fine, though Mercy us still thin and eats three-four times that of our 15.2 hh paint. So I rescued not just one pony, but two. Colt is still nameless! Looks like he'll be gray.
They're doing fine. Mom is still skinny, but eating like crazy so there's not a whole lot else we can do. She gets free choice hay and pasture and a grain mash three times a day that I'm still increasing slowly. She seems to still be gaining weight everyday. But now with producing milk, it's gonna take more. This is why she was so thin in the first place. The colt is perfect. He's a little rebel and is one naughty little baby. Mercy has a good milk flow and is an excellent mother so there's no worries there."
Mercy's colt is currently nameless. Can anyone help his owner think of a cute name for the little guy? Post your ideas in the comments section!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Club foot: A flexural deformity of the coffin joint, created by a shortening (contraction) of the deep digital flexor tendon muscle mass. It occurred when she was a baby, probably between birth and 9-12 months. As the long bones of the limb grew, the muscle mass contracted, pulling the coffin bone into an upright position and the hoof capsule followed. It will always be a club foot. Very possibly genetic (mom had one?), probably a combination of over supplementation and maybe over exercising but could be strictly environmental. Many horses have a slight club foot but Faith's is prominent enough to create lameness if not shod/trimmed correctly. Our plan is to shoe the fronts next to see if we can get them moving better.
Be careful what you feed your babies! If they're getting grain and momma is getting grain, remember, they're double dipping. Let them grow normally and many angular limb deformities can be avoided.
Hope this helps!
Brad Erickson, Farrier
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Brad has been Faith's farrier since she first came to live with us, and I could not be any more pleased with the quality of his services as well as his work ethic. Due to Faith's leg issues, she cannot hold a leg up for him where a normal horse would, nor keep it there for any length of time. Brad understands this and is extremely patient and gentle with her. He works at her height and her pace in order to minimize stress and discomfort. He has reviewed radiographs side-by-side with our vets, working with them in order to make Faith healthy and comfortable once again. He has answered all of my questions quite thoroughly, and let me tell you, I ask a lot of questions! Many of Faith's issues I have never had to deal with first hand before, and the best way for me to care for her is to learn as much as possible. Brad has been a wonderful resource for me. And besides all of that, his work is simply unparalleled. Both of Faith's vets are exceptionally pleased with the quality of his work. Brad, thank you so much for everything you have done for Faith! Your expertise is priceless!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
DERRY — Faith gave her special visitors a glance and proudly stood tall near her stall at Greenwood Stables on Frost Road.
After undergoing veterinarian care and months of good care and rehabilitation, the horse is on her way and since living at Greenwood, Faith has gained 200 pounds since those painful days last winter and is doing well, Hersey said. The once starving, emaciated animal is sporting a sleek, healthier look.
"And she just got brand new horseshoes put on yesterday," Hersey told the preschoolers, who gathered around the stately horse to take a peek. Many of the children sported colorful rain boots for the dusty, hay-strewn occasion.
Nutfield Cooperative School teacher Suzanne Mitchell said the school children make regular visits to Greenwood Stables to learn about the animals living there. When they heard about Faith's plight last winter in the local news, the school community wanted to do something to help.
"We saw Julie and the newspaper article and thought what a great community project," Mitchell said, adding the children and their families collected $219 to donate to Faith's care.
Hersey filed animal cruelty charged against the horse's owner with Loudon police. She hopes more people come forward with information about neglected animals at that farm.
Hersey said she is still trying to find out a little more about Faith's history and is happy the horse is getting stronger.
"She's done it, she's pulled through," Hersey said.
Donations like those from Nutfield Cooperative School continue to come in to help Faith. Anyone wanting to learn more about Faith's journey to Derry can visit Greenwood Stables online at http://www.greenwoodstables.com/.
The article can be seen here at: http://www.derrynews.com/derry/local_story_140150149.html
A special thanks to Suzanne Mitchell for all of your continued support! Please bring the little ones back to visit anytime!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Ten days ago, I was fully aware of the risks of going forward with Faith's corrective shoeing. I knew that there was obviously a possibility that she would begin to improve and her lameness would subside; I also knew that we had bigger odds against us.
The first few days after we had hind natural balance shoes with trailers put on, Faith appeared normal. (Ok, this mare has never been normal, but she was normal under the given circumstances!) However, she took a turn for the worst a few days ago, and as I previously mentioned, this time the pain is in her front end. From Monday through Thursday, the lameness slowly escalated from being "sound" to showing a 3/5 lameness on her right front leg. Let's hear a drum roll for more vet visits...
I have been in frequent contact with the two "Brads" in Faith's life, both Dr. Brad Barnes and Brad Erickson. Since her hind end appears comfortable now, with no more pain responses from her back, through her hips, stifles and hocks, we know that we're at least on the right track. (Thank God...) However, now we're shifting our focus, frustrations and finances to her front end. We have decided to shoe her front hooves in order to balance her movement out, and to make sure that she is breaking over as equally as possible on all legs. Through the advice of both the vet and farrier, we originally elected to leave her barefoot up front, as her clubbed hoof was presenting its own issues. However, with frequent maintanance and our farrier's painstaking attention to detail, we think that front shoes won't be as big of an issue as they previously appeared. That decision was made late last night, shortly after giving her Bute for her pain.
Today, Faith made a huge improvement. At her worst today, she appeared to only be about a grade 1 lameness, only slightly favoring her front right leg. She moved around as she normally does during her turnout, showing a little stiffness, but came into the barn pushy and eager for her dinner. This could mean that if the pain was caused by changing her stride with the corrective shoeing, (again, to alleviate the stress on her suspensories,) then she is growing more and more accustomed to it.
Our plan now is to see how she does over the next few days and then probably proceed with putting front shoes on her. Time will tell...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Since we've been sharing rescue stories, I figured I'd share another one (or two) of mine!
In our household, Faith is not the only rescued animal that resides here. Our two dogs, Molly and Ginger, were taken out of kill shelters when they were puppies. Ginger (now 2 1/2 years old) came from Tennessee, and Molly (almost 3 years old) came from South Carolina. They are best buddies and play constantly. Ginger is sweet and loves to cuddle; Molly knows a bunch of dumb tricks and likes to counter-surf in our kitchen... They balance each other out.
The picture above was taken on Sebago Lake in Maine last summer. (Ginger is on the left, Molly on the right.) They wear matching life jackets for two reasons. The first is because the little one has a tendency to jump overboard after ducks, and the big one is dumb enough to follow. :-) The second reason is because the handle on the back of the jackets makes it ridiculously easy to pick them up out of the water and put them back in the boat where they belong. They're both excellent swimmers, but not very fast. Rest assured, no ducks have ever been harmed in one of our outings. :-) Tomorrow after barn chores are done, (and I can rest assured that we won't need to call a vet to the farm,) we will be doing another one of the dogs' favorite activities: going mountain climbing! The girls love the outdoors nearly as much as I do, and are wonderful off-leash. They are self-sufficient and carry their own treats and water in their backpacks. It's kind of pathetic: we actually have to hide their backpacks from them when we get in the truck, because if they see them, they will become so excited that we will have to listen to nearly constant barking and whining until we get to the trailheads. That makes for long car rides, especially when the mountains are 2-3 hours away... Here are pictures of our last adventure last weekend, Mount Cardigan, elevation 3,155 feet. Enjoying the climb with the girls near the top. Look at the gorgeous view!
Dan with Molly and Ginger, resting on a cairn just below the summit.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, May 22, 2009
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ringbone is known as "osteoarthritis", or "bony arthritis". It occurs when there is damage to the periosteum, the outer layer of tissue that covers bones. Damage to this tissue can occur from a wide variety of issues, which will be discussed shortly. The term “ringbone” refers to the formation of new bone around these damaged areas, namely in the region of the horse’s pastern and coffin joints. It is a painful and irreversible disorder and can lead to permanent lameness.
Below is a picture of the long and short pastern bones from a horse affected with ringbone. Notice the bony growths encapsulating the area around the joint.
A body's natural response to pain and discomfort, both human and equine, is to try to fix it. When a joint in a horse is strained, the body may choose to compensate for it by growing bone at the point of stress.
Ringbone is classified by "high ringbone" and "low ringbone", depending on the location of the bone mass. "High ringbone" affects the pastern joint, made up of the lower part of the large pastern bone and the upper part of the lower pastern bone. "Low ringbone" affects the coffin joint, which involves the lower part of the lower pastern bone and the upper part of the coffin bone. High ringbone is much easier to deal with, as low ringbone is located inside the hoof. You can see the growths below in the diagram I borrowed from http://www.horseshoes.com/.
1) Conformation is key! Horses with natural, abnormal stress on their joints will be predisposed to the condition. This includes those with long, upright pasterns, those with long toes and low heels, splay-footed and pigeon-toed horses.
2) Horses with degenerative joint disease are, needless to say, more likely to have ringbone. Over the course of years, a horse's body will produce bone in an attempt to immobilize a painful joint. This can progress to a point where the joint is completely fused together.
3) Horses injuring or having excessive strain on ligaments near the pastern joint are also at risk. Similar to above, they will grow bone to help stabilize the area.
4) Proper trimming and shoeing is also a factor! Make sure your farrier knows what he or she is doing. Ask your vet to evaluate your horse's hooves and, if need be, speak with your farrier about making changes.
Treatments: Unless it is caused by an injury, ringbone is typically degenerative. Treatments for ringbone are not meant to cure it, but to hinder the additional growth of bony masses and to make the horse comfortable.
1) Corrective shoeing can make a huge difference in the level of comfort in a horse suffering from ringbone. Natural balance shoes are frequently used as they support the heel and allow for an easier, more natural breakover, thus lessening the stress on the affected joints.
2) Joints can be directly and individually injected. Commonly used is a HA/Depo mix. The hyaluronic acid lubricates the joint, and the Depo-Medrol reduces the inflammation and subsequent pain. A joint injection can last anywhere from 3-6 months, at which time the lameness will reappear and the treatment will need to be repeated. The biggest benefit is a nearly immediate response. The biggest downfall is that you can only treat one joint at a time.
3) A systemic injection is another option. Adequan (intramuscular) or Legend (intravenous) are the most commonly used to treat joint pain disorders. The biggest benefit is that this is a systemic treatment - it will help every joint in the horse’s body. The disadvantages? It may take a few weeks for noticeable improvement, and the treatment is ongoing and can be quite costly.
4) Obviously rest will make a huge difference in the comfort of the horse.
Ringbone is a serious disease that is both painful and incurable. However, with proper management, pain can be reduced and some horses can continue to perform.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Have any of our readers dealt with ringbone? Any suggestions that you could share with us?
Feel free to add your own suggestions, comments, questions, etc into the comment section!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Cori at the equine hospital, patiently waiting to be put back together.
Between Amy's leg issue, William running head-first into a fence post, and Cori impaling herself on a door, I think I'm about ready to give up! Never in my life have I had so many bizarre accidents in such a short period of time. I asked my vet if they offered any frequent-flyer programs. He told me that if they did, he would already owe me 5 round trip tickets to Cancun - just from May alone. He laughed. I didn't.
Deep breath... Onto Faith. There is good news, and there is bad news.
Dr. Barnes was here around 11am to check on Faith's progress and readjust her.
The good news is that Dr. Barnes was highly impressed with Faith's comfort in her hind end! She has continued to improve since he was here last on April 30th. He ran his hands all over her spine and hips, (in the same areas that she was high-positive for pain last time,) and she had absolutely NO response! This improvement could be caused by her new corrective shoes taking the strain off of her weak areas, or it could be from being adjusted last visit. Whatever it is, we're on the right track!
Next up was his review of Faith's new shoeing job. He looked at Brad Erickon's work and was quite impressed with it - it was exactly what he requested. The shoes were limiting the amount of "twist" in her gait, therefore releasing some pressure from her suspensories. However, we knew that there were three possible outcomes of her corrective shoeing: She gets better, she stays the same, or she gets worse. Unfortunately when you require one aspect of their gait to change, (such as eliminating the twist in Faith's stride,) you are forcing something else to adapt to accommodate it. On a horse that is about 17 years old, who probably has been moving like this for quite some time, it takes them quite a while to adjust to the changes. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The only way to know if it will work is to try it.
Faith appeared sound for the first three days after her shoeing, and now has become about a 1.5/5 grade lameness on her front legs. Yes, her front legs. She has obviously changed her stride behind and may now be putting more weight on her forehand to accomodate it. If this is from her shoeing job, there are two possibilities: The good news is that it just might take her an additional week or two to readjust and balance herself out. The bad news is that it might not and we may need to pull the shoes and keep her barefoot. Time will tell. In the meantime, she has been and will remain on bute on days she seems uncomfortable.
The front end lameness could also be something entirely different, and not a negative side effect to her shoeing. It could be that she has always been lame on her forehand, but that her hind end was always in greater discomfort, so she didn't show the front-end pain. Think of it this way: you have a small splinter that aches in the bottom of your right foot, and at the same time, a big painful blister on the bottom of your left. If you're walking, you're going to favor your left foot, thus appearing "sound" on your right foot. One the blister heals and the left is comfortable again, you'll favor the right foot because the splinter is still painful. You fix one cause of discomfort, and another shows up. This could be what's happening with Faith. We're eliminating the most painful problems first, and as we do, the less painful ones are becoming more apparent.
So the question is, what's causing the discomfort in her front legs? It could be just general soreness from carrying herself differently. We also are fairly certain that she's arthritic, plus she has an old suspensory injury on her front left leg. (That is the same leg as her clubbed hoof, and suspensory injuries are more common in legs with clubbed hooves, due to the angle of the pastern created by the hoof.) Dr. Barnes thinks she may possibly have ringbone, either high or low. If she does, we can start her on injections and see if she improves. Our plan for now is to wait another week or two and see how she changes. I have hope that she will improve, and this is just a little bump in the road.
Back to Dr. Barnes's visit: He did not have to adjust her back, but he did notice that she was tight through her poll and neck. He gave her a few adjustments, and she willingly let him do his job. Here is Dr. Barnes at work:
Does anyone know of a good equine massage therapist in the Southern NH/Northern Mass area that would come out for Faith? I think she'd not only thoroughly enjoy it, but benefit from it as well. Once I get caught up on all of these vet bills, I plan on scheduling her an appointment.I'm off to bed now - have a great night!.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Faith's New Shoes
=> Faith's farrier informed me that there will be an adjustment period for her, as she may be a little uncomfortable in her hind end due to her recent shoeing. The trailers are limiting the "twist" in her gait behind, (in order to take the strain off of her joints,) and since we're limiting one thing from moving, another has to give. Faith seemed OK today, perhaps a tad bit more stiff than she normally is, but nothing that I am too concerned about. (I am surprisingly fairly accustomed to the good-day, bad-day, good-day, bad-day roller coaster!) Keep your fingers crossed that she begins showing improvements over the next week or so!
=> We are looking to do a few interesting fundraising activities to help with Faith's care. The first one I'm hoping will be a big hit, but shhhh... it's a surprise! I've been working on over the past few days and will present to everyone if I can make everything fall into place!
=> As another fundraiser, a student mentioned some sort of graphic sales, such as on t-shirts, hats, etc. Unfortunately, I am not very creative, and far from being a great artist - does anyone have any suggestions? Any good graphic designers out there that could help?
=> Dr. Brad Barnes will be out this Thursday morning to reevaluate and readjust Faith. Hopefully he is pleased with her condition and the quality of Brad Erickson's work. I'm doing my best to find someone else to be here and take pictures - it would be great to show everyone Dr. Barnes at work!
=> Per a few questions and requests, I have been working on posts regarding suspensory ligament injuries as well as the causes and issues with clubbed feet. I will post them once I have time to finish them!
And to our deeply concerned readers...
=> I find it absolutely hilarious that 90% of comments regarding the post about Faith's hoof care had to do with how cute my farrier is! Hahaha - you guys are way too funny! I wholly agree that he's not bad to look at, but sorry ladies, he's happily married. :-)
I'm off to bed now - I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Friday, May 15, 2009
I thought I'd rise to your challenge. I'm a strong believer in helping out where ever you can. We have "rescued" or helped several animals. We refer to them collectively as our "used animals" - pets that other people didn't want or couldn't use. It turns out that, by taking a chance on other people's rejects, we've assembled quite a collection of wonderful and loving pets.
I know your emphasis was on horse rescues, but I really believe that people should help where they can. If you don’t have the time/resources to save a horse, then save a cat, a dog, or a bird. There are always animals that need help and, it seems, now more than ever.
Anyhow, I'll start with the Terrorists. (Yeah, I'm the lady with the Terrorist donkeys). Fiona (aka Terrorist #1) was acquired from an equine rescue. She'd been there precisely one day. She was actually in good shape and was only sent to a rescue because her people were elderly and could no longer care for her. She is a perfect example of people understanding their limits and doing the right thing before the situation gets out of hand. That leads us to Terrorist #2. (Long story short....) It turns out that Fiona is a shockingly well conformed little donkey and I'd always wanted a baby, so we took her to a wonderful breeder to have her bred. (Thus the origins of Bailey (aka The Antichrist) who will be my performance/driving donkey in another two years.) The Donkey breeder had a Jennet that was left with her by her owners because she was un-breedable and needed to find a new home. So Chloe (aka Terrorist #2) came to live with us. Chloe started out as a very shy little girl. Now she'll take the carrots out of your hand and run you over to get a scritchin'!
Fiona - AKA Terrorist #1
Chloe - AKA Terrorist #2
Bailey at 3 weeks old (AKA the Antichrist) - how adorable!
Then there's the used cat, Janga. He's a Bengal. He belonged to a little old lady who'd had him declawed, which (for those who don't know about declawing) has a tendency to make them bite. Well, she didn't want a biting cat (at least not one that weighed 20 pounds!) so she sent him to the Humane Society. He was going to be put down as he was "hostile" and "antisocial". (If you don't understand Bengals, they can be misinterpreted that way.) Fortunately, as a last chance, the HS called a Bengal rescue and they took him in and fostered him until we found him. Janga is now a loving lap cat who, if you're not paying attention while he's playing, will bite you occasionally. We just pay attention. :-)
And then there's Bandit.... An ex-breeding dog, scheduled for a date with a bullet because he isn't trustworthy with strangers. But we knew him and he liked us, so home he came. He can't run loose on the property like our other heeler, but he has his own run and we spend time with him every day. He'll have a home with us until he passes.
Finally, there's Remedy. She is our rescue that was closest to death. As a 3 year old, 15.1 hh mare, TWO MEN locked arms, picked her up, and loaded her in a trailer because she was too weak to walk in on her own. She was most definitely in the same league as Faith - the people who saved her were pretty certain they were bringing her home to die in peace. But she didn't die – with a lot of antibiotics and hay, she pulled through. We bought her after she'd gained about 150 or so pounds. When we went to look at her, she was all head (it looked HUGE!) and too much white. But she was a pretty mover, so we decided to “take a risk” on her. (She was already safe from starvation, so we didn’t have to worry about that.) All we did after we got her home was feed and love her. I've included before and after pictures. The pictures don't do her justice. You can see her backbone, but you can't see how prominent it was and how wasted and skinny her neck was. Like Faith, she had a thick layer of hair, which was her last defense against the cold of starvation. But, after several months of food, she muscled back up. It took 6 months to get her looking decent. She had problems with tying up for a while after that - we think it was due to a chemical/mineral imbalance from the starvation. But she got over that too. Now she's a nice brick of a horse that you can put anyone on. All she needed was food and love. We're so glad we took the “risk” on her!
Thanks for everything you do for Faith, and for (more importantly) teaching kids about the consequences of animal abuse and neglect. It's one thing to fix it, it's quite another to arm the next generation with the tool to PREVENT it.
-Heather from Gaston, Oregon
Remedy, before and after
Remedy doing a drill routine (she is in red):
Heather, all of your animals look wonderful - great job! Remedy is quite a nice horse. She's pretty, a great mover and versatile - what a wonderful result for a rescue! I love the picture of her at the show - she is nicely turned out and it shows how much time and effort you have put into her. And those donkeys surely cannot be as deviant as you say - look how cute they are! :-) Keep up the great work, and thanks for the compliments!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The side view which clearly shows the rolled toe and increased breakover...
Many of the people that read this blog that don't own horses have questioned what is wrong with her hind legs. On the following picture I drew a red line to illustrate where her pastern should be. The pastern angle should match (or at least be much, much closer) to the angle of the hoof. The suspensories in her lower legs are so damaged, that they have are no longer strong enough to support the joint and keep the angle of her pasterns upright. This damage that was done to Faith is irreversible. What we're trying to do is increase her comfort and lessen the future damage of her joints.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
She is making steady progress lately. We haven't had any major setbacks lately, knock on wood! Right now my biggest challenge is getting rid of her thrush. Each night she gets a hoof packing with a bleach solution (ordered by my vet) and during the day she is treated with one remedy or another. Between her thrush treatments, hoof packings and wrapping her legs twice each day, my lower back permanently feels like it is on fire.
Brad Erickson will be by tomorrow to trim her and put hind shoes with trailers on to lessen the strain on her suspensories. Next Thursday Dr. Brad Barnes will be out to reevaluate her and do more chiropractic work on her hind end. Hopefully he'll see an improvement since the last time!
Onto your stories...
I've had quite a bit of response from you regarding the horses that you've rescued. Below are two of the first to arrive in my inbox. I plan on posting a new one every few days, so keep them coming!
"Hello, My name is Sam, I live in Ohio, but I'm down in Kentucky for school. I've always been a huge rescue supporter, and your work with Faith has been a wonderful journey to read. So I'll share my rescue story with you, per your blog request.
It is about my own horse, a now 9 year old 15.2HH Tennesee Walking Horse named Trotzig Storm (Jake). At the time I met him he was an unruly newly gelded horse at the age of 2 1/2. He was bought for a man who had never sat on a horse, much less broken and trained one. Also a new owner. I saw the harm in this first thing, but only being 13 I couldn't really say anything. He was boarded at a friends farm where I free leased a horse. Soon they began the process of backing him, and at first, he was an angel. But then about 5 rides in, he started bucking and rearing and just throwing everyone off he could.
The owner, apparently lost interest in him, and he was neglected for a while. He was really underweight, and had turned nasty and mean. The issue with his throwing people turned out of the be wolf teeth. Once those were removed I was told to ride him (because they put me on every rank horse, I could sit their craziness).
Jake, apparently didn't want to be a gaited Walker, I taught him how to trot and canter, and at 3, he became my first horse. When he first got to the new barn, he was ewe necked, skinny and quite frankly, no one liked him and thought he was a waste of money. Well, they certainly ate their words! We do 3 day eventing together. He and I show Novice and school Training and Prelim levels, and we show 1st level Dressage and school 2nd level moves. No one believes he's a Walker, and no one certianly believes he was once a rescue horse."
Jake, at the age of 4:
Jake posing for the camera:
Jake working under saddle:
Sam - Great job with him! He is absolutely adorable and looks great! His topline has certainly improved with proper nutrition and conditioning. I love the second picture of him - look at the expressive face on that guy! And kudos to you for showing everyone up - rescued animals are usually the best!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And from Tammy:"Bucky was our first rescue horse, we adopted him in August 2007 from Spring Hill Rescue in Clarendon, VT. He was initially rescued by Gina at SHHR as a starved, filthy baby with strangles, he was in rough shape, his three companions at the auction had died. She brought him back to the rescue and nursed him back to health, until we came along and he picked us! We did not intend to get a 2 year old, and certainly not a thin little buck toothed colt. We brought him home and spent a lot of time working on his teeth, feeding, and training him. He is a very trusting little horse who will do anything you ask . . . considering what he's been through I consider this nothing short of amazing. He matured into a gorgeous little buckskin, no doubt Quarter Horse, who I hope to get trail riding this summer. His before photo from SHHR and a photo of him at a clinic last summer are attached. He also has his own blog where you can read his whole story including training updates: http://sweetspotfarm.blogspot.com/
We have since added two more horses from SHHR to our herd and feel greatful to be a part of these wonderful horse's lives. "
I plan on posting a few of these a week - keep them coming!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I had a chance to go over my emails quickly, and I received a few rescue stories and pictures from you guys! They are all great - I hope to have them up tomorrow when I catch up on barn chores. The more the merrier - keep 'em coming! Show Results: Our farm won the qualifier and championship in Arabian Native Costume, won the Open Hunter Pleasure Championship, and came in Champion and Reserve Champion in the Arabian/Half-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Championship! Our Walk & Trot riders pinned in every class, as well as coming home with a few Reserve Championship titles! I also wanted to mention that at least 10 people at the show came up to me to ask me how Faith is doing! They all wanted to know when they'll be seeing her at the shows. I told them that she is going through a rough time now with her lameness issues, but it could be a possibility in the future!
Courtney and "Kenny" hand galloping in the Arabian/Half-Arabian Hunter Pleasure class.
Myself and "SB Cookies N Cream" working on the rail. I just love how this little mare moves!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
A few times a week, I will receive emails or read posts regarding animals that our blog's readers have rescued or rehabbed. The stories are heartwarming, they are funny, they can be sad. But each and every one is important. Each one we can learn from, laugh from, cry from.
So here's the plan... Since I'll be away until Sunday night and will have little time to think, let alone post, I'm giving all of you homework! I want you to tell us about your rescue story. Send me a picture and write a little something about an animal that you have rescued or helped rehabilitate. The animal's name, how you came across them, how they changed your life, triumphs and difficulties in their rescue or rehab - whatever you'd like to share! Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll publish your story right here on Faith's website next week!
I look forward to reading your stories and seeing pictures when I get back from the horse show. Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
As many of you know, I'm a trainer and instructor by profession. Each year, my students and I travel all over New England to compete at shows from May through September. We normally attend about a dozen shows, as well as a few state fairs. This coming weekend is our first show of the season - God help me...
Normally, I am totally pumped and ready for the season to begin. After a long, cold winter, I'm excited to begin conditioning horses, body clip them, and head to the showgrounds. This year, not so much. Up until February, my life was easy and relaxed. Winter is our quiet season here - the only quiet one - and it was going fairly smoothly. I was waiting for the snow to melt and the horses to begin shedding their winter fuzziness. Shows were on the horizon and I couldn't wait to hook the trailer up and hit the road.
Then a certain mare you may have heard about came around and turned it upside down. For the better, of course. I'm grateful that she came into my life - granted, I wish it was under better circumstances - but I still don't think I have caught up on all of the lost sleep yet! Show season has arrived in a flash and I feel totally unprepared.
Today it officially began. Myself and about ten of my students loaded up the trucks and headed to the Deerfield Fairgrounds to set up our stalls. We cleaned out the barn, put fluffy shavings down in each stall, set up our tack room and dressing room, and hung our drapes. Tomorrow morning I'll begin making trips to the showgrounds with show horses. After school gets out, students will arrive for their workouts, followed by baths, hoof sanding, tack cleaning and final preparations.
The horses will be staying at the show grounds, but I'll be commuting back and forth each day. I still do not feel 100% comfortable with leaving Faith at home overnight by herself, plus I really like sleeping in my own bed. Who doesn't?!
Even though I think I need a few more weeks to prepare, I am really looking forward to this show season. Our horses and kids have been working very hard in their lessons and I think that our farm is going to have an amazing year ahead of us. We have quite a few promising beginner riders joining our team of seasoned competitors.
I also enjoy showing, although I'm usually too busy coaching to get my own classes in. I have a cute black and white pinto Half-Arabian mare that I have shown over the past few years. She's only 15 hands tall, but is hooky, elegant and a big mover. However, she isn't the easiest horse to keep between your legs; she's forward and can easily get hot. But she's a blast to ride! Here she is with me last year winning the Hunter Pleasure Championship:
Her name around the barn is "Cori", but her registered name is "SB Cookies N Cream". A cute name if she were a kids' horse, but not for a professional adult! Not at all. :-)
The last time I rode her was February 1st, the day before we picked Faith up. One of my students has been schooling Cori over the past few months for me, since Faith takes up most of my free time. I was planning on bringing her out today, but the farrier showed up for a repair, so my plans had to change. More than likely, the next time I'll be on Cori's back will be during our warm-up before her class.
Friday at 10:00am the show begins. I am in one of the first riding classes. Lucky me.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
... A human can survive on 45-minute increments of sleep for one week straight. It is possible, it's just not pretty.
... My past of going out for a romantic dinner once a week is just that... in my past.
... Being in the barn aisle at 3am does not only happen during show season.
... Bute paste, when flung out of a horse's mouth and into your eyeballs, burns like hell.
... My vet answers his phone at 10pm, midnight and 1:30am by saying, "What's wrong with my girl, now?"
... 400 pounds doesn't "just go back on like that".
... Dewormer tastes horrific (that's both Ivermectin and Panacur, in case you were wondering)
... If you are 100% certain of a diagnosis, you are 100% wrong. Guaranteed.
... Colic only occurs under two conditions: 1) when I haven't slept for days, or 2) if I haven't slept for days and I have made rare "off-the-farm" plans.
... SMZ paste stains all clothing.
... My vet has secret plans of retiring off of me.
... Syringes are cheaper when you buy them by the 100-count box.
... SMZs are cheaper when you buy them by the 500-count bottle.
... Tall horses can amazingly grow even taller just prior to receiving oral medications.
... Mounting blocks sometimes are just not big enough.
... You cannot hold up a 900-pound horse. You just can't.
... The healthier mares are, the more bitchier and impatient they become.
... Medicine cannot be hidden in any of the following more than once: applesauce, molasses, sweet feed, pudding, whole apples or carrots.
... If you attempt to hide medicine in any of the above a second time, be prepared to have it blown in your hair and face, doused in saliva and partially chewed grain.
... If aggravated enough, horses will give you that "middle finger" look.
... There are three things in life that are certain: death, taxes and vet bills.
... Wrapping hind legs stimulates an instantaneous and horrendous gas reflex.
... Pill crushers cause massive blisters. Subsequent stall cleaning with said blisters is damn near impossible.
... Any manufacturer that says their product is "apple-flavored" lies.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
So being the good horse mom I am, I went upstairs, changed into barn clothes, and then spent about an hour with her tonight. I groomed her, gave her treats, repacked her hoof and fed her dinner. She gave me a little nuzzle as I left her stall, but I'm sure it was only because I was standing in between her and her hay...
Dan and I had a great time in Hartford. It was a nice mini-vacation and we spent time with my family. Everyone was asking about Faith and how she's doing. (Actually, they asked more about how Faith is doing than how I am doing!) Anyways, it's late now and we're both exhausted. I am working on a funny post for tomorrow - hope you all enjoy!
~ Dan & Julie
Friday, May 1, 2009
Dan and I are officially on a short vacation! We're leaving shortly to go to Connecticut for my cousin's wedding. Although I love my horses dearly, I am fairly confident, (er, rather 100% certain,) that I won't miss getting up at the crack of dawn and doing stalls.
This is the first time we'll both be away since Faith first came into our lives, but my great friend Melissa will be overseeing all the critters here. She actually works for Dr. Barnes as a technician, so I know my kids are in great hands!
I will be back Sunday night, and will hopefully post a picture or two of Dan and I dressed up. It's a rare sight to see the two of us in anything but jeans and barn boots!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I just want to thank everyone who reads this site and let you know how much your support has helped me. I personally read each and every comment that you post at the end of my articles, as well as every email, and I can't even begin to explain how good they all make me feel!
Some of you are professional horse people that offer amazing and reassuring advice; others are animal lovers who give me endless moral support. Through the good times and bad, I know that I can count on you to help Faith and I through this ordeal.
Over the past 12-plus weeks, there have been some emails and posted comments that have stuck out in my mind. I received an email yesterday in my inbox that touched me:
"My daughter and I have been following your story on Faith since day one. I was so angry and sick to my stomach to see her photos at first. Thank God you arrived when you did. That Faith is all woman it sounds like with her stubborn streak and I love it.
The main reason why I am writing to you though is to tell you, I feel you are unreal. The love you have for her melts my heart. You are a blessing. Keep up the great job you are doing and get some rest for yourself you seem like a busy lady.
Here are a few of my favorite comments that have been posted on this website:
From Nancy: "Saving just one horse won't change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one horse."
From OldWorldMorgans: (Regarding our lunging post) "And now we know what she thinks of lunging."
From KuKuKaChew: "Oh wow, she is so a bombshell! No wonder all the geldings want her!"
From Anonymous: "I enjoy your wry sense of humor about it all. It looks like your barn is a fun and special place to be...keep up the good fight!"
From TBDancer: "Faith is gorgeous, but you already knew that, didn't you? " Yes, TBDancer, I did. :-) And thanks for all your continued support and advice. The money-saving tips are great too - LOVE them!
From Anonymous: "It is such a pleasure to see how far Faith has come. I shudder to think what Faith's life would be like with out the love and compassion from Julie, Dan and all the kids. It certainly makes a parent so proud. Thank you for demonstrating to the children how a person can right a wrong." Thanks, Mom!
From Anonymous: "Wow, her head doesn't look too big for her body any more!" Hahaha that one cracks me up! So true!
From Anonymous: "One can only hope the people allowed this to happen to her feel the shame." Also very true.
From Anonymous: "I guess if she's coming into heat, it means she's a lot healthier. (Or do horses still come into heat regardless of body condition?) Being female can be such a nuisance sometimes. Yuck. "
From Anonymous: "Its so very special how she has become a group project to be loved. Love your updates. Its the Black Beauty story all over again and you are her Joe."
From OldMorgans: "She sure looks ever so much better. Reading about Faith is something good for my day."
From Anonymous: (In reference to the 4-H Club picture with her) "Rags to riches… From standing alone starving with no one to care for or about her; to the picture above. She is a lucky girl. What a difference a twist of fate can make."
From Melissa: "Glad to see Faith's continuing to do well! Cool opportunity for the 4H girls to learn from her, and for her to get some extra attention too. :-)"
From Anonymous: (In reference to the pictures with Faith and the donkey) "It's funny you should refer to your donkey as a terrorist. Ours have "real" names, but their nicknames are "Terrorist #1", "Terrorist #2", and "The Antichrist". "
From TBDancer: (In reference to Faith gaining the first 60 pounds) "Okay, that settles it. I am coming back as a horse. I want that same joyful reaction every time I gain weight ;-)" I agree - how true! Horses have it soooo much easier than we do!
From Bossy: "I like to think there is a special thorny hot place in hell for animal abusers. Regardless of what happens to this schmuck, you have changed the life of one sweet horse, and hopefully prevented any other horses from suffering by his hand. "
From Anonymous: "I'm impressed with your barn - it looks exceptionally clean and bright and well kept." Thanks a bunch! Our horses are our kids and we try our hardest to give them the best of everything!
From OldMorgans: "I have been a faithful reader of Faith's blog and have cried with you and rejoiced with you. This blog has enriched my life and my life with my horses. As fortunate as Faith was to have found you, you have been the most fortunate to have found her. "
Also... BarrelRacingMom, ShesPureGold, thebundychick, Monique, SoBe, and all of our other frequent posters, thanks a bunch!
Keep the comments coming! They're my fuel on the bad days, and my humor on the good ones!
I will post when I return Sunday night!