Sunday, October 4, 2015

Amazing Zora!

Something really incredible happened yesterday...I still can't believe it!

We went to The Dunes to ride the trails. In the parking lot we ran into a horse riding guy we know. A friend of ours was injured pretty badly about two weeks ago in a freak accident on one of the bridges on the trails. This man's wife was injured a couple of years ago, also in an incident on one of the bridges. He was there when our friend was hurt and was telling us about the accident.

We were talking about how dangerous the bridges can be, especially if it is rainy or icy. He told us he will avoid the one long bridge by taking the little "side path" just before the bridge that leads to the street. Then he just walks down the street a bit and jumps back on the horse trail up ahead. 

John and i both said "what little side path?" -- We had never seen it or noticed it or anything. 

So we leave and get on the trail and I SWEAR ON EVERYTHING HOLY at the point before that long bridge ZORA TOOK THE LITTLE SIDE PATH!!! She has NEVER done that -- we never took that path in the past, John did not cue her to turn, we never even knew it was there! 

I believe she HEARD him talking about it, and decided to take it!!!! Freaked me out!!!

Zora is AMAZING!

Monday, April 6, 2015

It's a Long Way Down!

Last Saturday John was going to work Zora in the round pen. It's part of her rehab from EPM, and also necessary because even though she is almost 17 years old she still needs training. She is the most strong willed horse I have ever met.

Anyway, since they were going to be in the round pen I figured ti would be a good time to do some bareback riding on Divna. She's a great horse for bareback riding. She has a wide, flat back and she is even-tempered enough to not do anything crazy. 

Did I mention I had a couple of beers?

So we are riding along, I am feeling pretty confident. I'm staying on her, I'm completely connected with my horse, she loves me, I love her. Let's pick up the pace a bit.

So we are going along at a gentle lope -- nothing too fast. But I'm staying on and feeling secure.

We have a small jump set up out in the pasture. About a foot high. So here's my brilliant idea: "Let's jump!"

You know that moment when you feel you are coming off the horse but you think you can still pull it all back together and save yourself from the fall? I had that moment.

You know that moment when you are so far out of the saddle that you know you are going to come off altogether? That was my next moment.

Then I am in the air, going over her head - in front of her - and it is amazing how slowly time seems to pass. You seem to have time for all kinds of thoughts. My main thought was "Oh no....she is going to run me over!"

Then I'm on the ground....Divna had stopped. This is what I see:


(photo courtesy of my dear friend Pam M.)
The wind was knocked out of me, I was feeling super-stupid, and Divna is just standing there looking at me!
So my left side is a bit jacked-up, especially my ribs. I think I bruised them pretty good. To make it worse, I had been sick for a few weeks, so I'm doing a lot of coughing and sneezing which is just torture when you have messed up ribs.
I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon................

Thursday, April 2, 2015

You Can Lead a Horse to Water....

Last Friday night we are out in the barn bringing in bags of feed, cleaning up, giving The Girls their evening meal, those kinds of things. The Girls came charging in when they heard the grain hit their buckets, but something was off; Divna would not eat. Of course my first thought was "Oh no, colic." But after looking at her for 30 seconds I knew that wasn't it. She wasn't kicking at her stomach, and she was defnitely interested in the grain, she just would not put her head all the way in the bucket.

So thinking there must be something that does not smell quite right in the bucket, I poured her grain into a different bucket. Same thing. So thinking there might be something wrong with the grain, I opened one of the new bags and gave her fresh grain. Same thing.

This is really odd. I put the grain in my hand and held it out -- she gobbled it up. I kept hand feeding her and wondering what the hell was going on with this horse.

We go outside to start cleaning the pasture. As I am cleaning I keep watching Divna. I noticed she was standing by the water trough. She didn't go for the hay, she kept standing by the water trough. I told John, "It's like she wants to drink, but won't." So we both went up to where she was. John stuck his hand in the water and said, "Well, I'm not getting a shock. At first I thought maybe the water heating element malfunctioned and was shocking her."

So I got a five gallon bucket and filled it with water. Divna drank and drank from that bucket until it was empty! I filled it again, she drank half of it. Then she immediately went for the hay.

I looked at Divna, and at John. It occurred to me that he had on rubber soled shoes. I decided to take my shoes off and try the water. No shock. I looked at Divna again and realized that she is barefoot. So I took off my socks.

That time when I put my hand in the water I got a shock! Problem solved -- John had grounded the metal water tank to the electric fence. Obviously something had gone wrong recently - a short or something. Now every time the fence pulsed with electricity a shock went through the water.

It is getting warmer here now (finally) so we removed the heating element and disconnected the ground. But by now both horses had been "trained" to not drink out of the trough. So we moved it thinking/hoping that would make a difference.

It took a couple of hours, but finally, after a lot of coaxing and splashing in the water by John, they got the courage to drink out of the trough again.

I felt horrible!

We were electrocuting our horses!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Zora's Health Challenge: The Diagnosis

So we went to the vet for a chiropractic adjustment. She asks the questions, takes a look at Zora in the exam room, and then asks John to walk her so she can watch. She had a veterinary student there - the student was doing her internship. She took the student aside and was talking very intently to her and gesturing at Zora -- pointing and such. When John and Zora got back to us the vet says,

"I have no doubt in my mind this horse has EPM."

My head started spinning, my knees got weak and I thought I was going to faint. I thought EPM was a death sentence. I said to the vet, "Oh my God, she is going to die?" The vet told me no, that she could be treated. I felt 1,000 times better.

So she explained the disease to us, the course of treatment and possible outcomes. She said some horses never fully recover, and some do but have recurrences of it from time to time. It takes a long time to recover from EPM -- months in fact. But the fact that it was treatable made all the difference.

So we started on getting her through this. A round of intense medicine for one month -- the strongest they have - Marquis paste. Thankfully Zora is a sweetheart for any type of medication or vaccines you give her be it paste or injections. She just stands perfectly still for it. Unlike when John is trying to get in the saddle, then she wants to walk in circles! But she is great for medicine.

So we started on the treatment and rehab.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Zora's Health Challenge: Initial Vet Opinion

We were pretty freaked out by what happened that day -- Zora lost her back end while out on a ride and drug herself for a few steps. So of course we called the vet. She was checked out which included a neurological assessment, and nothing seemed alarming. She did seem to react to pressure on her hip area. Possible stifle joint problem? Let her rest, keep an eye on her, and only short rides for a while until we get to the bottom of it.

We were advised to get a chiropractor, and one was recommended to us. He has a very good reputation and is both a human and equine chiropractor. However, he is also very busy so it is best to reach him by text.

John texted him, his reply suggested a weeknight appointment at his house which is a couple hours drive from where we live. John asked if we could work something else out as we are both employed full time. To this day we have not received a reply.

We were going to the Dunes to meet some friends for a ride on a Saturday a couple of weeks after the incident. As it happened, our friend was having trouble getting her horse to go out on the trail so we had only gone a short distance and decided to turn back. John said Zora didn't feel quite right. We took her back to the trail head/parking lot area. John walked her and all of us watched and sure enough, she was dragging her back feet a bit.

Now we are really concerned. Something is going on with this horse. Since we could not get the chiropractor we had an idea -- there is a vet in our area who used to be the vet for the nearby harness racing tracks. She is very good with musculoskeletal problems so we made an appointment with her hoping she could do a chiropractic adjustment.

So we got an appointment.......

(John and Zora before all this started)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Zora's Health Challenge - The Beginning

It started the first weekend of May, 2014. At least that is when it started for us. We're pretty sure it had been going on for a while, but we were completely unaware until that Saturday ride in May.

We had a nice, uneventful ride. We even saw one of my former co-workers and his family, which was just fantastic. His children were completely in awe of the horses, as children usually are. We left them and started back for home.

Going over the toll road bridge something surprising, frightening, and bewildering happened. Divna and I were behind John and Zora (as usual), when suddenly Zora's back end just dropped! The best way I can describe it is that she appeared to be instantly paralyzed. In true Zora fashion, she didn't stop walking! She was just dragging her back legs! It was horrible.......

John knew something had happened, but by the time he got her stopped and dismounted, she had drug herself at least six or seven steps. We were scared to death! We stood there on the toll road bridge, checked her out as best we could and finally decided all we could do was walk the remaining two miles home.

She actually left skidmarks on the road from her hoofs being scraped off onto the pavement.

She skinned up both back shins, the left one worse than the right. and rubbed her hoofs down a layer or two.

Needless to say we were freaked out. We gave her bute and treated the injuries as best we could. A call to the vet was made.....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Divine Intervention? Difficult Repair!!!

A week ago we decided to go for a night ride. It was a beautiful night -- snow on the ground, snow falling, and stars. It had to be a short ride (for reasons I'll explain in another post) so we were just going on the trails on our property, and then on the lane that circles our general area.

No sooner had we gotten onto our trails, than Zora started acting up. In getting her under control John noticed the clip on one of his reins was broken. Of course that changes everything, so back to the barn we go.

When unsaddling, I noticed that one of MY reins was also about to break -- the leather strap had come unhooked from its clasp and was barely hanging on.

To me this meant that we were prevented from taking that ride for some reason. I'm not questioning it or complaining about the tack issues!

Last night we finally had a chance to do the rein repairs. Has anyone out there had experience with this type of clasp?

I HATE these things! They are so very difficult to work with! They just WILL NOT BUDGE when you are trying to work with them, and they are an absolute nightmare to get back together, I am wondering if there is a trick to them?

And so this is what John  ended up with -- original clasp at the bottom, our repair at the top. Had to use the clasps we had on hand! Looks strange, I know, but as long as it works!