Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Always Changing

I wrote a post last week, but apparently forgot to hit publish before taking off on a little trip with MH. We went to Pennsylvania to attend the retirement celebration of one of the Marine Corp's finest.

It was amazing!!!

Not only the retirement ceremony...But just the hanging out and visiting. I always enjoy getting together with this particular group of people, especially the ladies, and getting the opportunity to broaden my scope of conversation. LOL. Oh, there is a little 'horse talk' because some of them have or have had horses and I'm afraid they find my life fairly fascinating, whereas I find their lives equally as interesting because it does NOT revolve around horses.

Of course, after a few days of being back east....Where it IS still winter and because of that, we spent most of our time inside, I was ready to get back home. The weather is still unseasonably warm in CO and I am ready to get into the full swing of the upcoming season. I've already missed several barrel races and my boys are losing their condition.

Because I really don't foresee any of my bunch being ready for serious rodeoing this season, I am making this THE year of finally taking the time to broaden my equine horizons. I've talked much these last couple years of doing this or that, but rodeoing as hard as I was on Moon just didn't leave much time for anything else. If I was around to do it, I was usually tired and just looking forward to getting to stay home.

Of course there will be barrel racing. ;-). Jackpots and at least one of the local weekly rodeos. Basically, I have Frosty, Little John and Jet to work with in that department. Shooter is out, Belle is too young and I haven't really decided about Moon.

I have not had any luck getting Shooter's leg to reduce and a visit to the vet didn't make me feel much better about it. After x-rays and an ultrasound, we still don't really know why his fetlock won't come down. If it was purely a cellulitis problem...the vet thought the sweats should have at least reduced the swelling temporarily. Hence the x-rays...The vet was worried that he may have actually broken the fetlock, but the bones are perfect (Holy Moly...The vet's new x-ray machine is incredible! The pictures are crystal clear). So he ultrasounded and found no damage that could account for the primarily localized swelling around the fetlock either. He does not believe that the problem originated due to Shooter tearing the front digital flexor loose again, like I had originally thought, either. He said the swelling problem was too localized around the fetlock, so he thinks that Shooter just did 'something' to his fetlock and with the already compromised circulation in that leg, the inflammation, along with a little cellulitis, is set in and can't break up.

Our whole game plan has changed. Since it has been 2 months since Shooter's leg blew up and restricted exercise and sweating hasn't helped, we go the opposite direction...Free movement as much as possible and return to whatever work load Shooter can handle. I am to put him on antibiotics and continue to use different kinds of liniments, cold-hosing and mudding and the BOT boot to try to get circulation going and try to get the inflammation to break up as much as I can. The vet did suggest that if I was determined to try to get Shooter's leg back to the size it was prior to THIS incident, it would be best if I get Shooter some P3 electromagetic pulse therapy sessions, as well as laser therapy. I can hear my wallet screaming, but if there is any chance of getting that fetlock down again, I'm all in. The vet wasn't overly optimistic at first, but became a little moreso when I reiterated that this is a 'new' thickness in that leg, particularly the fetlock. I think he had it stuck in his head that this was still thickness that was associated with Shooter's original injury and was gently trying to tell me that this might be as good as it gets. But when I explained AGAIN, that prior to the leg blowing up in December, I had that leg down to normal size and Shooter was 'sound' and traveling quite normally (besides the scar, a slight lack of flexion in that fetlock was the only indication he came so close to total destruction), the vet perked up a little and told me to definitely try the P3 and the laser treatments. The sooner the better, and as often as I could afford, to try to get that broke up before it got any harder.

I'm back to doing a lot of research and reading on supplements that are supposed to improve/maintain the equine respiratory system, particularly those of bleeders. I have waffled around in my head on the subject of what to do with Moon, but regardless of whether he ever makes another barrel run or not, his lung function is going to still need some managing. It's really no surprise to me that he is doing well right now. He's had a lot of time off to recoup and heal up and he has always done better in the cooler winter months. It's long been a combination of heat and dust that has bothered him and I think that super dry, dusty, warmer-than-normal winter in AZ last year is what finally got him. That fact isn't going to change, ever, for him now. The best I can hope for, from now on is to just try to keep his system as strong as possible and lay him off when the weather is not conducive to optimal health. That doesn't mean I cannot ever run barrels on him again, but it does mean his days of being a 'serious' barrel horse are completely over. I mean, I pretty much knew that when I 'retired' him, but Moon has made it abundantly clear, he is not happy being out of the mix. When the hard-to-catch horse is trotting to the gate and trying to shove his head into the halter.....Yeaaa....He needs some sort of a job. Having a job means being in condition, especially for a coming 17y/o horse, so he needs to be healthy and stay healthy enough to be ridden regularly and learn new jobs. I have decided though, if I do decide to make a few barrel runs on Moon, once he's in good enough shape again, that we will be switching to the left barrel first. This was something I started to do with him several years ago, but my idea got poo-pooed by a couple of people whose opinions I respected at the time (Not anymore!!) and I didn't follow through with it. In hindsight, I think I was really onto something then, and now I think Moon and I just have too much baggage running to the right. We stopped listening to each other going that direction a long time ago. Changing a horse is not like starting from scratch, but it definitely backs both of you up to a place where you have to sort of feel for and listen to each other again. It's a chance to break the cycle so to speak. I have seen girls do this with horses before, which is why I thought it was a good idea to try. I have even seen girls run their horses the opposite direction for awhile and then resume running the other way again. Some horses will run equally well whichever direction you point them. So it wasn't like it was an out of the blue idea...I just wished I would have listened to my gut a few years ago. Ah-well...Just another one of life's lessons. Someday I really do hope to be able to complete a post on the hazards of competitive friendships...Without sounding angry or bitter. I'm really not either...Okay, on occasion, I am a little of both, but mostly I have just learned to avoid those kinds of people at all costs. ;-)


Sherry Sikstrom said...

s frustrating about Shooters leg! but if anyone can get it set to rights I think its you! Glad Moon is better, but along with the health issues I cant imaging you wanting to get back to the frustration you were having with him, "almost" becoming the horse you know him to be. Guys like him do need a job though, hope you find a satisfying combo for him

Shirley said...

What about a different job for Moon? Penning, sorting, roping, all that would sure keep his mind busy. Even ranch work.
Sure hope you can conquer Shooter's problems.

Anonymous said...

competitive friendships! Sounds like a GREAT post that I would love to read!! Wyo Faith