Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Young Boys

After the adults got their injections, we moved on to the youngsters. I'm not sure if I ever communicated on the blog that last year I noticed that one of Flashy's knees did not look right. In fact, it had never looked right. It looked like it had a much larger 'openness' in the knee carpels compared to the other one and he always had a little bump on it. The bump was soft to the touch. I had my CO vet visually look at it several times and he always just said 'It's fine. He's sound right?'. I'd reply, 'Yes, he's sound, but that still doesn't look right.' and he would reply...'It's fine. He'll grow out of it'. Weeeelllll...

No, he didn't. In fact, after Flashy had been turned out on pasture for awhile, I noticed a small band of puffiness across that gap, so I finally demanded my vet x-ray it. Come to find out, Flashy had a small bone spur on the end of his cannon bone, that was pushing the lower knee carpels out of alignment. Also, come to find out, this is a common problem with prematurely born foals. Technically, they are born before the ends of their large bones have a chance to harden and in many cases, the 'soft spot' doesn't harden properly, it begins to calcify creating an inoperable bone spur.

At the time, My CO vet gave me an extremely poor prognosis for Flashy. He basically told me Flashy would be totally lame by the time he was 5 and useless shortly thereafter. As you can imagine, I was not very happy to hear that. The only recommendation given was to limit his exercise and keep him on a low calcium diet.


Never one to shy away from a challenge, I started reading and researching bone spurs. I already kept my horses on grass hay, so there was no change there. I also, started feeding Flashy a bit of oats with Lampley's A-Z, Lampley's Bone Repair, 20,000mg of MSM per feeding (for inflammation) and 5,000mg of glucosamine. I fed that 2x's a day and every morning I duck taped a Back On Track knee wrap over the knee. The little sucker always managed to get it off, but he did leave it alone as long as he was eating, so it was on for at least an hour every day. Very quickly that band of puffiness over his knee began to dissipate. At first it would be gone and then be back by evening. Then it graduated to being gone until the next morning and after a month or so, it was totally gone.

I limited Flashy's exercise as much as humanely possible. He's a low energy colt, but still a colt, so every few days I'd put him out. At first it was just by himself, but he actually ran the fence more being alone than he did when I put Ruger out with him, so I started putting them out together. They would run and play, but quickly settled down. I figured as long as he wasn't showing any inflammation in that knee he was within his limits. It helped tremendously that I always put him up in his own stall every night and being the extremely sensible colt he has been since day one...he was very good about laying down and sleeping for long periods of time. Rest is always, always beneficial.

Outside of that, all I could do was hope and pray that this program would arrest the growth of the bone spur and as Flashy grew, the spur would protrude up into the carpels less, allowing them to relax back down into position. I knew that knee would never be 'perfect', but I felt like there was lots of hope that the disturbance would be minimal and he would be able to have a functional life.

Any hope of making him a barrel horse was totally dead. Even if the knee improved dramatically, there was just no way it would ever be able to handle the torque of turning barrels. Surprisingly that wasn't as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. Personally, I have never viewed Flashy as a barrel horse. I have always thought of him as a future steer wrestling horse, calf or rope horse. I know that is what Brian was really shooting for when he bred for him and I think he would have been pleased to know that is exactly what came out. All along, it has always been my goal to get Flashy into the hands of people that would appreciate his particular skill set.

This is Flashy's maternal uncle...and to be quite honest...the similarity in looks between the two is startling. Same color and the exact same head. He and his owner are racking up some pretty impressive wins. Here's the link to an article about them....Streaking King Dandy.

Another of Flashy's famous breathern from his maternal line is this mare...

I've talked about Blake Knowles incredible mare, Shesa Fabulous several times over the years. Not too long ago, they were featured in America's Horse.

Kind of ironic that both horses are ridden by guys named Blake. LOL. I said, I knew Flashy's future as a barrel horse would be non-existent, but I knew if I could just get that knee to settle down while Flashy finished growing and those bones 'set' with minimal disturbance, he would still be capable of having a career coming out of the box.

All of the time and effort I put into that is paying off!!

This time Flashy's x-rays show that the spur was arrested and the bones did settle down. Not perfectly. I knew they wouldn't do that. But he's a good 50% better than he was a year ago. Even the vet agreed with me that if he continued on this path and the knee is taken care of, he could have a good, long career. Unfortunately, I cannot find the previous x-ray, but this was his recent one...

The vet recommended continuing the diet and supplements I have him on, and we also started Flashy on Polyglycol. He will get a shot of that every month and it will help lubricate the joint and keep the inflammation at bay. I was given the go ahead to start Flashy under saddle and I am allowed to work him over ground poles every few days to help keep mobility in the knee. Obviously, at this point, I will just have to keep paying attention to the knee and adjust his work accordingly. I have every intention of keeping his work light because I have a whole year before he'll even be marketable.

Now, about Ruger...

Back when Ruger was a right about the time I was getting ready to wean him...He somehow managed to bust his knee wide open. I have no idea how exactly he did it...because it was like that when I went to feed that morning, but I can only surmise that he was running in from pasture and tripped in the irrigation return line and fell forward. I thought his leg was broken and I was crying when I called my vet. I just knew he was going to have to put that gorgeous colt down.

By the time we got Ruger in, he was stepping on the leg again and the vet moved it this way and that way. Said it wasn't broken and simply stitched him up and bandaged the leg. It took a long time for the swelling to go down on that knee. It was huge for a long, long time. I asked my vet several times if he thought we should x-ray it and again it was the, 'Is he sound?'...Yes, he's sound...'It's fine'. Eventually that winter the swelling did go down, although there was always a bit of thickness above the knee. Ruger was totally sound though and never seemed to experience any pain or discomfort when I would manipulate the leg.

It was well into his yearling year when that thickness started to feel hard and occasionally, after Ruger had played hard or been out for several days, I could see the slightest bit of shortness in his step and he did not want me to manipulate the leg. When the vet castrated him in the fall, he flexed the leg and told me that Ruger had merely broke the bursa sack above his knee. It might bother him when he got old, but as long as he was used, it would be fine. I've had horses with burst bursa sacks and I knew the vet's words to be true, so I grimaced at the defect and considered myself lucky that was the worst that had happened.

Let me tell you, by this time I was actually thinking the knee incident was a pretty lucky break. If Ruger hadn't bashed his knee, I would have sold him as a weanling and I know I would have regretted that for a long, long time. Defects don't bother me too much and I sure wasn't going to take a huge hit on his price tag because of it.

I think it was in January or February that I started noticing a slight catch when I would lift Ruger's leg to clean out or trim his feet and not long after, I started hearing some grinding in there. He still wasn't lame, although I could tell there were days when it bothered him. I knew I should get him x-rayed, but by that point I was kind of over my vet and knew I would be moving horses to Arizona. I figured I would just get Ruger x--rayed down here. By the time I got everyone moved, the catch had turned into a real catch and loud popping noise and the grinding was horrific to hear. I knew I needed to get Ruger x-rayed before I ever tried to start him under saddle.


It would seem that Ruger did do some damage to his growth plate above the knee and it is experiencing some bone remodeling...

You can see the kind of sharp point coming off the bone above the knee. That is where the tendon/ligament comes down and inserts into the knee. It is kind of a serious thing and the vet definitely was concerned about it, but...It is something that time will 'most likely' heal and smooth out. Bones are constantly remodeling. According to the vet today, every 7 years you have totally new bones. I had no idea it was that short of time period. Damaged bones remodel with rougher, jagged in this case, edges. As the new bone matures, it will (or should) smooth out. Given Ruger's age, the prognosis is good. It's just going to take time. We are going to start him on Osphos in October and see if that does not help speed up the process a little bit. The vet did say that there is no clinical trials using Osphos for incidents like this, but field application has shown it to have some beneficial results.

The vet recommended not attempting to start riding Ruger at this time and most definitely avoid doing anything with him that would require him to repetitively lift that leg higher than absolutely necessary. So no pole work, up and down hills or rough country. The primary reason is, he does not want the rough bone to damage the tendons/ligaments that attach at the knee. He did say that if I wanted to start saddling him and doing some ground driving that is fine. Keep the lessons short and ice the knee afterward. I will probably try to do some of that. Ruger is a huge colt and is already getting stout. I cannot imagine waiting until next year to start him from scratch. I don't think he will mind being saddled too much. I'll just have to work on the cinching up a little at a time so he doesn't have a major bucking fit.

So that takes care of all of the vet work for awhile.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Another Month...Just Gone...

I seriously do not know where time goes in Arizona...but it just absolutely flies by. In a totally good way, I might add.

Lots happened...

The Canadian horse sold. He went back to Colorado and will be a ranch/dude/pack horse. It's like the perfect setting for him. He was just a pup of a horse. No buck, no spook and he loves people and attention. It's right in line with his preferred level of work. The horse can go all day, but anything that required quickness or agility was kinda hard for him.

I hauled him back to CO for them because it worked out great for me to grab another load of stuff from the CO place. I always worry myself sick when I sell a horse off of nothing more than a picture and my word of what he is. I don't want to oversell, or undersell a horse's abilities.

They were absolutely thrilled with him when they saw him though. Gushed over him in fact.

Yaayyyy!! Love at first sight is never a bad thing. I told them if they had any problems to let me know, but they assured me that all would be fine. He was the type they like and they would make it work. He was promptly rechristened Tiller, loaded on the trailer and away he went. LOL. I wasn't sure if I liked them renaming him with my last name or not...but they were so tickled about it, what could I say? Hahahahahahaha

I was really needing a little extra $$ too. I have been holding off getting some of my other horse's to a vet for x-rays and injections because it has kind of felt like I was hemorrhaging money here lately.

Once I had the funds, I immediately made an appointment with a recommended vet.

Jet needed his bad hock and stifle injected again. Shooter needed his stifle injected. Flash needed a new x-ray of his knee and I wanted an x-ray of Ruger's knee to see what is going on with him.

Immediately following making the vet appointment, I injured my knee pretty badly and am totally and completely stalled out on working horses. About all I can do right now is longe them (the ones who longe nicely) or work them in the round pen. I cannot even walk well enough to drive them. It's so frustrating and I am super pissed at myself to how it happened....

I hate to even admit this, but I got bucked off....Of LJ. (insert eyeroll)

The little shit has been trying me off and on out in the desert and this time he just went for it because he bucked me off HARD and I landed with my leg behind me. He has never even tried to buck with me in an enclosed area, but he sure hates going out to the open desert. I know better than to head out with him until I have loped him down pretty good in the yard and for the life of me, I'm still not sure why I just got on and rode out that morning. Must have had a brain fart and forgot who I was riding. LOL.

Anyway, it sure wrecked what I had going because my knee is not healing as fast as I had hoped. But I wasn't about to cancel my vet appointment. It will be almost a week before the horses I had injected will be able to work again anyway, so hopefully my knee will be better in another 5-7 days.

I was thoroughly pleased with this vet. On the phone, he was going into a lot of talk about x-rays and lameness exams on the horses I wanted injected and I told him that once he got here and saw them, he would realize that wasn't going to be necessary. Both Shooter and Jet's issues are obvious and I wanted x-rays on the youngsters anyway. Thankfully, once he got here, he agreed and simply sedated and injected both horses without making a big deal about it. He did take the opportunity to talk to me about IRAP injections vs. cortizone based injections and I found the information to be useful and something I will definitely consider. It was really nice having undivided attention on my horses's needs. As much as I liked my CO vet on a personal level, I was often frustrated with his tendency to be distracted and spending his exam time telling me about his ugly divorce. I knew both of them, liked both of them and did not want to hear about all of that when I was paying for his professional services. The last few years, I feel like he missed a lot of things on my horses because his attention was elsewhere.

With this guy, I was able to communicate my immediate treatment desires and goals for the horses and then he was able to give me a more long-term option. I always wondered how many times you could inject cortizone in a joint before it began to cause it's own set of issues...Particularly the stifle. I mean, on lower hocks...the goal is typically go get the lower carpels to fuse, so injections aren't needed anymore anyway. It's a different story on the stifles and upper hock joints (which I do not have injected). But what about joints that the goal is to reduce inflammation and increase mobility to? According to this vet, the better long-term option is IRAP. Some horses are always going to need extra help for injured or compromised joints. Both Shooter and Jet are uncomfortable and live in low-to-mid level pain (depending on the day) all the time. Both of them show it emotionally. Shooter gets grumpy and looks angry all the time and Jet is always a little kookoo and totally overreacts to the most ordinary stuff.

The goal today was just to help alleviate the acute inflammation they are suffering in those particular joints. This will hold them over for a few months, give me a chance to get them both moved forward in their training and decide whether it is worthwhile to continue on or call it a thing with them. I don't think it will actually come to that. I've been able to get both of these horses sound before and both of them do quite well. Just have to get them pain free again, put the time in on them and keep up with their maintenance.

I'm going to split this up because there is backstories on the young boys about why they needed x-rays....

Monday, July 31, 2017

Where Was I At?

I really don't know how a month has passed by since I last posted. It sure doesn't feel like it. The days just go by so fast here in Arizona. LOL

Let's see...Just a couple of recaps from the last month...

Scamper and Rock are home!!

It didn't take Rock long...just a couple of days, and he got over his 'You can't touch me' attitude and has become as friendly as my other colts have been. He's a little different though. I have to watch him. Not only is he prone to snapping, he has jumped up and tried to strike me a few times. He has a very Thoroughbredy temperament.

He is getting better though. I think some of it was just from being cooped up in a 16x16 stall for a month. Now that he has room to run and play, coupled with firm dissuasion of those kinds of antics, the edge is coming off of him.

I am just so thrilled with how he is made though. I was just praying that when crossed with a superior stallion, that Scamper's genetics would shine. I think Rock is going to be spectacular.

Right now, he looks very small and kind of dainty in comparison to Sneaky...

But I mean, pretty much anything looks 'dainty' compared to Sneaks...

I thought Ruger was a big, stand-up colt at this age, but Sneaky has him beat. I was comparing pictures of Ruger and Sneaky at the same age and Ruger was almost 5 months old before he really started beefing up. Sneaky is just a little over 3 months. He's going to be a powerhouse.

And...He is sold.

I knew I was going to have to actually list Sneaky for sale come weaning time. I HAVE to get my numbers down. Including the 2 foals, I am up to 10 head of boys. That is way more than I can handle, so it is time to start thinning the herd. As fate would have it, one of my friends from back in CO asked me if Sneaky was for sale, so I priced him and she snapped him up.

I was a little in shock for a couple of days. I mean, I have had a lot of interest in this colt from early on, but still, I put a healthy enough price tag on him that I thought I would have to list him for awhile and then do some dealing on the price to get him sold.


Just and 'I'll take him...Where do I send the check?'.

He's going to a good home too and that means the world to me. This gal knows how to raise babies, they get broke, they use them on the ranch and then she runs barrels on them. Very seldom does she sell a horse and it's never for nothing. Sneaky is going to have a very happy and useful life.

Sneak will be here for another couple of months. With Beretta not being bred back, there is no reason to wean him before he is at least a full 4 months old, probably closer to 5 months. I'll get him halter-broke and weaned and then haul him back to CO.

The abruptness of the sale shocked me a little, but man is it a relief. That means that this Fall I only have to concentrate on getting the Canadian horse and the big bay horse sold.

The Canadian horse is doing good. At first I just spend time riding him out in the desert, but now that he is in better shape, I have been working on livening up his handle. He has had good training. He knows how to do what I am asking. He's just L.A.Z.Y!!! It took a lot of popping him on the shoulders and hips to get him to decide to liven up and start moving his feet with any speed or lightness, but it's coming. He has gears he didn't even realize he had. LOL. I think at this point I need to get him shod though. He's not really tenderfooted...but I can feel that maybe part of the reason he doesn't want to move his front feet real fast is because he's hesitant. That usually means there is some tenderness/pain associated with having to hustle his feet. There aren't many horses that can stay barefoot very long in Arizona, if they are ridden on the native terrain very much. The soil here is hard on feet. It exacerbates how a horse normally wears their feet. In this horse's case, he has a tendency to land hard on his heel on the fronts and stub his toes in the back, resulting worn down heels and belling toes in the front and no toe and lots of heel in the rear. If I trim him to where he needs to be, he gets sore, so shoes it will be.

I've had people interested in this horse. The one gal that really wants him, I don't think he is something she will enjoy for very long. She has a background in hunter/jumpers and cutting horses, but has been away from the horse world for quite awhile. She thinks she needs a nice, gentle horse like this one to get back into the swing of things and I think she will be bored with him in 30-60 days. I've had a couple beginners ask me if he is suitable for them and while I think, in a lot of ways he would be perfect for a beginner (he sure isn't going to hurt anyone on purpose), unless they have a trainer or someone with experience to keep him tuned up...again...going to be sorely disappointed in 30-60 days because he'll just stop working altogether if they don't know how to get it out of him. I'm really thinking my best bet will be this Fall when the sorting start back up and I can take him to some of those, or when the trail riders start back up. He'd be a nice trail horse for someone who likes to just poke along. It remains to be seen whether he has enough speed to catch a cow, but we'll start rope practice one the weather cools down and the roping cattle come back.

Jet has really been my big 'What the hell do I do with this horse?'. There is just no way he is going to work for my brother. Decided not to even go that route. Someone would have just gotten hurt and the horse would have been ruined. I was literally at the point where I thought I would just have to put the horse down. It sounds harsh, but I have some super-duper young stock here that is NOT going get put on the back burner while I mess around with these odds and ends that aren't going to make barrel horses. But then I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll just go straight English with him'. I mean, those English people are used to dealing with flighty TB-types and his size, color and build is perfect. Even his age is not much of a hinderance for the English crowd. So, I am preparing Jet for an English show in September. He rides well enough that it is mostly just going on with him. I'm working on his showmanship and flatwork skills and will progress to crossrails with him soon. He's doing quite well now that I actually have a focus for him.

The only other horse I have on my 'for sale' list is Flashy, but that won't be until next year. He'll sell better as a well-broke 4y/o than he would now (even if he was riding). He needs to go to a roper/steer wrestler and those people prefer them with some age on them so they are ready to go into training and then to work when they are 5 or so.