Monday, January 29, 2007

Barbaro euthanized

I don't follow horse racing, and I know it has a bad reputation when it comes to caring for it's four-legged athletes.

But I rooted for Barbaro, hoped he'd heal even when I know how unlikely that really was.

He didn't.

It was the right thing for his owners to do, but a sad thing - to me, anyway - nonetheless.

The only thing I can hope is that maybe we've learned a little more about treating such catastrophic equine injuries.

Lip sores as promised

As promised, here is a picture of one of her now-healing sores. The pink skin you can see is where the rest of them were, now thankfully healing and healthy. Her gums still look a little bit puffy, but all in all, she is looking much better now.

If you really want a good look, click on the picture. It blows up into a really large picture of Lena's mouth and my hand. Really large. Kinda scary large, but good detail nonetheless.

Quite an experience, to say the least.

I'm thinking of sending this post to the dentist who did her teeth back in October. Might be a good thing for him to know about, too. (And maybe he can tell me how to whiten and brighten her teeth!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yellow Bristle Grass - One more note

One more thing.

When told that not all the horses had the sores, specifically that the horses in the lower barn who theoretically get the same hay as our horses up top, Dr. Kerr said that not all horses will be affected by it.

He also commented that possibly if we went back and checked, we'd find that some of the horses in the lower barn did indeed have the sores.

Dr. Kerr

I forgot to mention that Lena likes Dr. Kerr. Of course that may be because he hasn't stuck anything up her nose or in her rear end, but he also has a nice way with horses. She kept trying to nose him and he didn't even have carrots!

Nice to know there is another vet we can use if Leslie ever does have to retire! She threatens to retire if her truck dies because not only would she have to replace her truck but also her vet pack because the new trucks beds are a different size and her current pack won't fit.

Yellow Bristle Grass - Mouth Sore Culprit

Here's the culprit, a rather benign and soft thing at first glance, but textured much like the fluffy stuff on the inside of an artichoke heart. It is so fine and sticky, it's hard for horses to get it out of their noses, lips and mouths, where it then proceeds to cause the irritation and sores we'd been seeing. If you touch it, you can feel the resistance, even on roughened fingertips, almost like a softer version of a foxtail, but smaller and lighter, so more insidious. Note the yellow-gold color at the end of the spiny parts. (Obviously, my plant terminology could use a little work, here.)

Shannon's vet - Dr. Jamie Kerr, who is also Katie's vet - showed up, took one look at Lena's mouth, planted his hands on his hips and said, "Let me see the hay." He said he loves this diagnosis because it looks so terrible and inevitibly getting rid of the hay causes almost immediate improvement.

He and his assistant Justin climbed all over the last two shipments of hay Peter got and pulled piece after piece of it out, showing all of us, and pointing out bales where you could see big sections of it mixed in with the rest. He even left me a baggie to give to Dr. Leslie when she gets back to town.

Dr. Kerr used to practice in Napa and said he saw a lot of this about 20 years ago from hay that came from the Dixon area and did a lot of work convincing hay providers that it was indeed a problem. Apparently cows can eat it just fine, but horses can't. This was a new supplier for Peter, though recommended by the last supplier, and he's supposed to swap all this hay out for Peter - presumably for something without bristle grass in it.

Steve and I crossed email the next morning, both of us expressing immense relief that Lena wasn't sick. Her lips are already healing beautifully, as are the sores on the inside of her mouth. I'll post some pictures later, though the sores are not nearly as dramatic as they were.

After I knew what to look for, I found this PDF on the web. It describes the reaction - and the bristle grass - perfectly. Of course, I had to search specifically for "horse mouth sores and yellow bristle grass" to find it, but at least I'm able to post it here so my small circle knows what it is.

You learn something new every day, it seems.

Just a horse

I was bopping around the internet today and came across this. I liked it, so I'm sharing. :-)


From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a horse," or, "that's a lot of money for just a horse".

They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent or the costs involved for "just a horse." Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a horse."

Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a horse," but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a horse," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a horse" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you think it's "just a horse," then you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise."

"Just a horse" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a horse" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of "just a horse" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a horse" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a horse" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a horse" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a woman/man."


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Beautiful Horse

Steve and Lena were having a fantastic time this afternoon, warming up in the sun, weaving in and out of the cones we have set up in the big arena. I took a few pictures, but she looked so lovely in this one, I had to post it. Steve even said it was okay that I cut off his head because Lena looks so good with her mane flying and her ears up. :-)

We both had good rides, playing with her speed and athleticism, feeling how powerful she is. One of the other boarders was there and said to her husband, "See, Paul? I told you'd they'd be here." Then she told me it was really great to see people who enjoyed their horse so much. That was about the best compliment I've ever gotten.

We do enjoy her, more than I possibly could have imagined.

Thank you, Lena, for being so much fun.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The mouth sore saga continues

We thought Lena's lips were healing - and they are better than they were for awhile, though not completely healed or looking as good as we want.

Then Shannon noticed Scout - a horse that moved in a few months ago and is being sold - had some sores in and around his mouth and worried her horse Tristan would get them if they were contagious, being that Tristan is in the adjacent pen.

Tristan did, complete with inflamed and puffy gums and sores inside his mouth. Shannon showed us his mouth today, so we all rechecked Lena and she has two more, though inside her mouth this time, right where the bit rests.

It's not affecting her appetite, nor is she fighting the bit much, so I don't think they hurt a lot, but it's definitely time to have them looked at again. Unfortunately, Dr. Leslie is out of town until the 29th, so I'll have Shannon's vet look at her when he comes out to check Tristan on the 25th.

In fact, several of the horses up in the top paddocks and pasture area have the sores, so with that additional piece of information, maybe we'll figure this out finally.

Peter wants to blame the hay, but since the horses down below aren't affected, that's probably not it.

The real bummer - besides Lena and the other horses having mouth sores - is that Katie, Finn, Lena, and I were going to go on a trail ride tomorrow but I didn't think risking Finn was a good plan so I cancelled. Bah.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Trailer brakes!

Okay, I'm a total dork and I have to do a quick post because I'm so excited that we got the trailer wiring installed!

Okay, back to work.