Sunday, November 30, 2014

Little Of This And That

I was trying to get all of the horses worked regularly before Finals, but MH was here those two weeks, so it was hit or miss for everyone but Frosty. MH came to Finals to hang with me and then headed home to Colorado. I headed back to the Arizona house to get to work on my boys.

Everyone is progressing nicely. I'm still fairly surprised each day at how well they are all doing. After the last few years of seemingly beating my head against the wall...The walls are coming down. LOL

Shooter is over his humpty-dumpty routine and is riding in the desert. He's also trotting the barrel pattern nicely and ready to start loping up to the barrel. 

I finally broke through Little John's 'zone' and he accepts that a Walk, is in fact, a true gait and not just something you do while you catch your breath. We have actually established 4 gaits while riding out in the desert; the walk, the jog, a long-trot and the just-shy-of-a-runaway gallop. (Hahahahaha) He lopes just fine in circles, however, loping straight lines must remind him of his reining horse rundown training. He just starts building speed and it doesn't take more than a few strides for him to get to really rolling. That little sucker can absolutely F.L.Y!!!...and I haven't even come close to letting him open up.    He's also finally recognized the barrel pattern as an actual pattern. He's loping to the barrel, breaking to a trot and making a nicely shaped turn. 

Jet continues to impress. We just tootle along in the desert. The other day, he even broke into a lope when I was trying to get him to extend his trot, and since he didn't act worried about it, I just let him lope along for a little while. Interestingly enough, for such a long-legged horse, his reach is fairly limited. Both he and Frosty are getting worked over ground poles regularly to encourage and develop their toplines. Frosty is so long-backed that he continually needs the reinforcement and Jet lacks strength and flexibility. 

Jet is also trotting the barrel pattern, however, as I suspected, he is going to need a lot of rate reinforcement. Lots of stopping and backing is good for him physically too. 

Frosty has been doing the slow pattern as well, although he can do the training pattern without any guidance from me. Lope to the barrel. Stop. Shape and trot around the barrel. Lope to the next barrel. Etc., etc. Frosty wasn't really confident at Finals and he felt really scattered to me. They don't get seasoned if you don't haul them, but now it's time to just make sure his mind is quiet on the pattern and rebuild his confidence. Thanksgiving kind of blew my schedule to get him back to the jackpots. But we'll be on track for this coming week. 

Everyone is on an extensive stretching routine. I've turned of my horses into 'treat whores'. LOL. Having been doing this the longest, Frosty is the most limber. Shooter isn't too bad. Jet started out being pretty stiff in the poll area, but has made progress...Once he decided turning his head to reach the treat wasn't a trick (so insecure that one. LOL). Surprisingly, Little John was the stiffest of the bunch. That poor, short-necked little guy. He can touch his chin to his chest, but had no side to side flexibility whatso ever. It's coming. 

While I didn't wait to start their stretching, I did hold off on doing the full regiment of hosing, liniment rubs or mudding on everyone for the first week. Whereas I used to spend a lot of time working to prevent Moon from getting sore, this bunch, I wanted to see what sore/hot spots were going to pop up. 

After 3 days of steady work, Shooter's injured leg started bothering him again. In spite of water therapy, liniment and mud. Him, I did do every day because I knew that leg was going to get sore. He was getting pretty crabby, so I started using my Back On Track soft wrap boots on his hind legs. The first morning, when I pulled them after 4 hours, I was surprised to find Shooter's hind leg (and the boot) dripping wet. The good hind leg was only normally warm. No sweat. I was kind of hoping that meant the boot was pulling inflammation out of his leg, but by the 3rd morning and it was still doing that...I got a little nervous, so I had to ask some BOT experts. 

Thankfully, the boot is doing exactly what it is intended to do and is pulling the inflammation out. By the 4th morning, I swear I am seeing a noticeable difference in the size of that leg and a tish more flexibility in Shooter's fetlock. 

Seeing good results with Shooter, I decided to try the boots on Jet. He has that one hind leg that still looks a bit different than the other one. I was only able to get one boot on him the first day. He is not good about having things wrapped around his legs...So this is not only good therapy for him...It's good training!!...

As luck would have it...Jet needs the right leg booted and Shooter needs the left leg booted...

So they both get their therapy time in during the morning. LOL.

Just like Shooter, Jet's leg and the boot were soaking wet when I finally got it off pulled the boot. And the leg was very noticeably less distorted looking. Once he gets better about having the boot(s) put on, I'll be adding the hock boots to Jet's regiment. 

By day 5, Shooter's whole leg wasn't soaking wet, just the lower half of the rear tendon and around the fetlock area. That is where he still has some thickening, but as well as the rest of the leg came down, I am hoping that with continued use, the rest of the thickening will go away as well. That will leave my beautiful boy with only that nasty scar to mar his perfection and tell the tale of how he almost became a pasture ornament. :-)

The boots aren't the only BOT products they boys have had utilized on them. Both Shooter and Jet have been wearing the sheets at night. I was so impressed with how well the sheets worked on Moon and Frosty, I knew they would help these two as well. Frosty still gets his BOT sheet time too. Usually 2-3 night in a row every week. And he has to wear his hock boots and the front soft wraps almost every morning. LOL.

One thing I really noticed about Shooter, after he was healed up, was the fact that he struggled to catch his right lead in the hind end and even if he did catch it, he quickly popped out. At first I thought that was odd, considering it was his left hind that was injured, but I quickly realized that after packing the injured leg for so long, he had simply gotten much stronger in his left hip. Forcing him to mostly go right in the round pen and getting him to catch and hold that right hind lead probably had a lot to do with his humpty-dumpy routine. But after working with him these last few weeks and using the BOT sheet, he is not only able to pick the correct hind lead up, but is able to hold it for a sustained time. It was mostly required conditioning, but the sheet sure helped keep him from getting sore in that hip.

I haven't noticed that the sheet is making any dramatic improvements for Jet...but he's older and more set in the way he has grown accustomed to traveling. It will just take longer for the conditioning/therapy to work.

LJ has worn the sheet, but it's not really a necessity for him. I do need to start including him in the boot therapy, but I need to get a shorter set for his front legs, as well as some knee boots for him. Those first few days of riding him out in the desert alone required some lengthy and hard riding and his knees got sore. Water therapy and liniment rubs helped. Now that he is getting the hang of being outside, I don't have to ride him as long or as hard, he hasn't been sore, but it sure wouldn't hurt to have the boots to use on him (or any of the other horses).

The one thing Back On Track doesn't make...And I sure wished they a stifle 'boot'. I figured somebody else had to have this same wish and sure enough, I found a few threads where people came up with ways to create their own version of a BOT stifle boot. They simply bought a set of the stifle ice boots and laid an appropriately folded BOT No Bow wrap on the inside and strapped it on. I was all set to make my own handy-dandy BOT stifle wrap and come to find out, the maker of the stifle ice boot has an extended backorder due to a redesign. CRAP!!! Well, that idea will have to wait then. :-/

I guess I should probably mention that normally all I do is pull off the BOT products and there is nothing else to do. Since both Shooter and Jet are both exhibiting such extreme releases of inflammation, once I pull their boots, I immediately take them out and cold hose their legs and give them some turn-out time or immediately ride. After riding, their legs are cold hosed again and given a cooling liniment rub. I was spraying them with Sore-No-More and mudding them, but when they have to have the boot put right back on in the morning and then the leg sweats so much, the mud is more messy than it's worth right now. Once the boots don't have to be used, I'll go back to mudding between boot usage.


Cindy D. said...

I have the knee boots...I am not using them. You may use them if you wanna!

Louisa Murch-White said...

LOVE BOT products, but you have a waaay more extensive collection than me. Question - do you ever regularly leave the mesh sheets on your crew? Like under a nylon sheet to protect it. I was thinking of leaving my guys on 24/7 but don't know if I should.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Louisa-You should NOT leave the BOT sheets on 24/7. They are intended to be on for no more than 12 hours at a time.

Shirley said...

I didn't know BOT made knee boots, that's what I need for little miss Josie, who has swelling in a ligament on the lateral side of her RF leg just above the knee. Tried the standing wraps but they just slid down. Hmm, have to get me a pair!

Chelsi said...

What's your "mud"? And what does it achieve?

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Chelsi- There are various brands of poultice mud and they are used to cool and tighten legs/knees/hocks/stifles.

I prefer Sore-No-More (although it is expensive), the Su-Per brand or Finish Line's Kool Out Poultice.

I've used the Ice Tight brand, but didn't particularly care for it. It didn't spread on as smoothly as the others do.

I use it after hosing and I usually spray the area I'm going to mud with Sore-No-More, then spread the mud over that and let it dry just a tish before letting the horse loose (just because they all roll after a ride and freshly applied mud will get coated in dirt. LOL).

Chelsi said...

Is it the mud itself that cools or the medicinal ingredients within the mud? We were not able to get Sore-No-More in BC for a good while (apparently an ingredient or label issue) and so I actually made a version of my own using a lot of the same ingredients in sore-no-more and a few extras. Will have to do a post on it one day:) Thnx for the answer.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

The mud itself (certain types of clays) is supposed to be what's the most beneficial.