Cloud's Honor Racing

Cloud's Honor Racing
www.GoodHorse.org

Cloud's Honor Riding

Cloud's Honor Riding
www.LeightonFarm.com

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Most Magnificent Creature to Ever Walk The Earth

Graycie. She doesn't owe me a thing, she's already given me more than I have a right to ask for. So. We've been struggling to diagnose her problem. EPM? Negative. Lymes? Negative. Female issue? Nicest uterus and ovaries you've ever seen.


Last Saturday I came home from a lesson on Bird with Elizabeth and JK ran out of the barn and told me he'd take care of the Bird. Graycie was sick and I needed to attend to that. 103.2 temperature. That's serious, Banamine IV brings it down to 99.3 in about an hour. You've got to get the temp down when it's that high for fear of founder. Then of course she's not eating and drinking like she should so I'm worried about colic. It's times like these that you realize these magnificent creatures are so fragile.


I check her periodically through the night and she is fine, but as morning breaks she's back in the 103 range. More Banamine and bute and the temp goes down. She's eating and drinking, but not enough, so I'm watchful. The thing about colic is the earlier you catch it the better your chances. My motto is do anything to keep them from rolling - ANYTHING. So later in the day she seems much better and I'm starting to feel happy. Paranoid happy, but happy none the less.


The next morning she's 101.2, but the banamine and bute don't get the temp down nearly as quickly and she's now starting to show signs of colic. At this point she will not be left alone. Some one will watch her constantly until the crises is over. I'm scared because this is going on too long. I feel like I'm watching the lumberjacks cut down the biggest red wood in the forest. I want to say, Stop! Now the forest is never going to be the same again. I can feel I'm losing my girl, but I'm not ready. The brilliant light isn't in her eyes like it has been since she was a yearling. I give her ace to make her comfortable and stop the urge to roll. We walk her around my farm. She periodically stops to pick grass which makes me feel bad because normally she would take this opportunity to grab as much grass as she can. Punkie is upset because he knows something is wrong. He's not out with the Bi*ch. He's turned out with a nice gelding. Punk watches us go around the farm.


You know it's always like this - I get to the field in the back and here comes Bird and Bear. "Whatcha doing? Why are you walking her?" She picks grass and I look at my boys looking at us and I think to myself, Bear's eye looks funny. So I walk over to find that somehow he's ripped his lower eye lid. He's in a flex fence with no trees or anything, so how he did it I'll never know, but there it is. Normally I'd be freaking out over that, but I've got Graycie here and she's not doing well. I can see his eye ball is fine so I just stick to Graycie and have JK bring in Bird and Bear when he arrives.


I use race track vets. In fact Morgan has taken care of Graycie for most of her racing career and he still takes care of her now. He's a great vet, but the catch is they can't come out in the morning. So I decide to call another vet. He tells me she's had the temp too long and she's probably getting ready to break loose with diarrhea that's why she's feeling colicky. If I want to take her to a clinic they might be able to save her, but it just depends on how much money I want to spend. He's seen people throw $40K at a horse only to lose it. Besides a clinic probably won't take her for fear of salmonella unless they have an isolation stall available. It just depends on how valuable the horse is. I think to myself, she's valuable to me. At any rate he tells me to give her antibiotics, but they won't help for at least 24 hours. He offers to come out in the afternoon if I want. I think to myself, no thanks.


Great. Now, basically I have a vet telling me my horse is going to die. I realize she could die, but I'm not ready. I'm still on do something to save the horse. I call Morgan. Can I say Thank God for Morgan?? I start the call with "I am very upset." I proceed to tell him about my experience with the farm vet. Can I say Thank God for Morgan?? He says to me first of all forget about the fever for now. We need to address the colic. As for diarrhea, she doesn't have it right now, so it's not an issue. It's most likely that her stomach is aggravated from the NSAIDS used to treat the fever so we need to get some Gastrogard into her. I tell him I've had her on Neighlox in the feed since I started giving her the NSAIDS. I give her the Gastrogard and then take her on a van ride. She poops and seems to settle. By the way, Punkie stood at the gate the entire time we were gone and screamed his head off.


During a time like this a good vet is better than two martinis. By afternoon Graycie is acting better than she has in days. I decide to remain paranoid just the same. The next morning, she eats up but an hour later is acting uncomfortable again. TQ and a walk seem to help. We decide that she needs the Gastrogard and Neighlox before being fed and that's the new routine. I make this oatmeal type mixture out of Neighlox for all my horses at the track. They get a dose syringe a couple hours before training. I've not done that on the farm, I just put it in the feed, but I'm rethinking that.


So yesterday Graycie did her famous victory gallop in her field for the first time in a long time. She gallops with her nose pointed to the sky. She's done that since she was a baby. Do you think that it's been ulcers that were bothering her all these months?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, SEVEN!

So, Jimmy has been telling me in my last couple of lessons that it is time to take the next step and start riding Birdie. This may mean, legs on or off as circumstances dictate. I know how to ride, I understand that. He also told me I need to work on my riding between fences. I've made progress in that direction - well not as much as I thought, but I know now.
Last Thursday he had me count to the fence and after. Seems easy enough, right? Well it was all I could do to count at all. There were four fences set at angles, two oxers and two verticals. We were to jump each one each direction, alternating leads. Okay, now I have to think about counting, and decide where I'm going to the tune of 8 consecutive fences. Oiii. At the same time, my Bird is rather strong between fences, so I have to ride?


The first thing Jimmy said is to think about what you are doing, while you are counting, you are not counting in rhythm with this strides and your voice is getting higher pitched the closer you get to the jump. This means your body is changing and he can feel that. Righto, I think to myself. The Bird is getting stronger there and I'm in a sort of "help me" mode. So, I'm still trying to figure out how to do these 8 fences in proper sequence and count to the rhythm to my horse's strides. This is hard, I say to myself, but I'm not the type to get yelled at about the same stupid mistake over and over again. Besides, self - You learned to count when you were 3.


How do I get to the fence in the same rhythm on a horse that wants to speed up? If I pull the reins he goes faster, running through the bit. Hmmm, just like a racehorse. I think I need to put him together, just like a baby going to the pole the first time. When youngsters learn to breeze, if you don't put them together, they take more strides and become tired quickly - they lack balance. If you push them into the bit and then soften at the pole, they take bigger strides which is the correct way to open up a horse. They learn rather quickly this is the best way run. To get to the fence in rhythm, it takes very similar aids. I think this is because balance is the key and without rhythm there can be no balance.


So here's what I learned. Counting showed me how much I am not riding my Bird. The important thing I learned is that although he is speeding up to the fences, I need to put much more leg on him to keep him together. This in turn keeps him from speeding up and maintains the rhythm to the fence. I did get it. I can now walk and chew gum at the same time - sometimes.