Monday, December 31, 2012

Commander gets out for a bit

After checking the footing from the barn to the run-in, I decided to try taking Commander out today. I put Ben into Counterpoint’s stall so he could look out the window and see everyone, then led the Mighty Morgan out.

He checked out the surface before him when we paused at the step down from the barn floor, then walked deliberately down to the gate. Once inside and unhaltered, he puttered around for a bit, dropped for a good thorough roll in the thin snow, and headed into the run-in to see what there was to eat.

Ben bellowed a bit, from the sound of it did a couple of stall spins as I was releasing his buddy, then settled down to alternating between eating hay and checking on the others at the window.

Commander got to stay outside for the hour-plus it took to do chores, then I brought him back inside rather than leave him till evening’s return for bedcheck. He looked fine, and also looked enthusiastic about going back into his stall. Perhaps that was because he spotted the mash bucket hanging ready for him as he entered.

If conditions warrant, I’ll keep doing this in the days ahead, maybe see if I can leave him out for longer with no ill effects.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Commander conundrum

Today’s report on the bay boys: They’re both doing very well. Ben’s moving freely, and Commander’s got his spark back; he’s stepping briskly when I lead him across the aisle to park him in Cholla’s stall while I clean his, and having no trouble spinning and plunging about his stall when he knows his mash is coming. It would seem that a few days completely off the frigid hard damp ground outside has done wonders for his comfort levels.

Which leads to the conundrum: What to do about future turnout? Right now, with Ben laid up, it makes sense to keep Commander confined for his company, but at some point they’ll both have to get out again. It sure doesn’t help that last night’s storm, after lashing us with heavy rain for several hours, finished with a thin sticky layer of snow amid plummeting temperatures and rampaging winds. The paddock behind the boys’ run-in has become mostly ice sheets more or less skimmed with snow; the apron of the structure itself is snowy right now, but who knows what slickness lurks underneath? With the next several days’ forecast of frigid temps and harsh winds, I can’t see the footing improving; if anything, it’s likely to get worse as the meager melt of thin daytime sunlight refreezes overnight.

So: I have one horse with a bum ankle, who’s going to be boinky-Thoroughbred nutty when he finally gets to go out; and another who doesn’t do well on cold damp hard ground, and who’s wearing boots in front that, while they do have treads molded into them, for damn sure don’t provide the traction that winter studs in horseshoes would, and who’s also likely to be feeling boinky when he finally gets out.

About the only thing I can look forward to at this point is ordering more shavings. Lots and lots more shavings.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Update on Ben, and then some

Friday morning I found Ben looking much better; still preferring to point the right hind, but able to move just about normally on it when I asked him to walk across the aisle so I could clean his swamp. I checked in with Derek, and the plan is for a week’s stall confinement, daily Surpass application, bute, and, if I can, cold hosings.

Cold hosings. In January, what’s forecast to be a bitterly frigid to start with January. Yeh, right.

I put Commander out for a few hours yesterday, and put Ben in his stall so the TB could gaze out the window at his buddies below, a plan which seemed to keep everyone content after the first half hour of intermittent pathetic bellows of grief at their separation. But I’m planning to keep Commander in for the next few days, other than perhaps brief sessions outside while I clean his stall.

It’s not just to keep Ben company; it’s also because Commander has seemed less bright lately, and isn’t moving as well. Occasionally, in fact, he’ll point his left front foot. He used to stride right up to the fence when I’d come to fetch them in for the night, but recently he’s been hanging back, staying on the edge of the mat inside the run-in. I’m worried that having him stand around for hours in the raw cold on frozen stone dust and concrete, even mat-covered as it is in the run-in, isn’t doing him any good. And it’s not like he gets much exercise when he’s out, since he appears to spend all his time parked inside the run-in rather than puttering around.

Commander’s not done yet, not nearly done; he’s still got plenty of attitude; but he isn’t doing as well as he was in the fall. So I’ll try a short course of being inside for him and see if that helps. Certainly, given the frigid forecast for the next week, it’s as good a time as any for the experiment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's deja vu all over again

Remember last spring, when Ben came up three-legged lame on turnout? With what turned out to be a torqued suspensory?

Looks like he’s managed to torque it again – same right hind fetlock attachment – in the comfort of his own stall, on this dark and stormy night.

Derek Cavatorta, lucky fellow, had emergency coverage this evening and came through the spitting snow to check out the horrifyingly immobile TB I found at bedcheck. After history and exam, throughout which Ben was his usual sweetly placid self, we settled on the suspensory as the likely culprit. Not good, but better than a broken pelvis or severed spinal nerve. So Ben got a shot of Banamine and a good rub of Surpass, and I finally got to creep home through the whipping snow.

I’ll be heading over to the barn in midmorning to check on Ben and update Derek. Assuming the diagnosis isn’t altered by what I find, he’ll give me my instructions for the convalescence. So I can look forward to another course of stall rest (with Commander confined to keep him company, no doubt), Surpass, bute, and tincture of time – but I hope Ben won’t require cold hosings this time! Not in January, please please, not in January....


Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Greetings

When you're ringing out the old year and ringing in the new,

Be it hanging out with old friends


Or snug inside, just two


Let your spirits lift, be merry; let nothing you dismay

'Cause life will see to that, no doubt

So while you can, make hay!