Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Now We're Cooking With Gas!

Errr... soaking with oxine*. Yesterday was the first time I soaked Lilly with oxine. All our previous soaks had been with apple cider vinegar while I waited for the oxine to arrive, but it finally came. I also purchased some regular vinegar because in order to "activate" it, it has to be mixed with an acid.

The essentials...
Oxine, vinegar, measuring cup, a 20 oz bottle for mixing, and carrots. You know, the essentials! Supposedly the oxine and vinegar, when mixed, will turn a yellow-ish color. My mixture never really turned colors, so who knows if I did it right. I followed the instructions: 1/8 cup of oxine, 1/8 cup of vinegar, and after it turns yellow, fill bottle the rest of the way up with water. After waiting around a while for it to turn yellow, I just added the water and got to work.

Getting the hang of this soaking thing.
I soaked both hooves for 15 minutes, so hopefully it does the trick. My trimmer suggested I soak her 3-4 times per week, so I'll probably soak her again on Thursday. We need to get our butts back out to the arena, pronto!!

*Disclaimer: Oxine AH is labeled for use to sanitize and disinfect animal confinement facilities, to disinfect water storage systems, and to help remove odors and tastes from municipal well waters. Soaking hooves with oxine is considered off-label use, so be sure to consult someone with brains before using oxine on your own horse's hooves.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Lilly's oxine came today, but the FedEx guy brought it after I had already left for the barn. So tomorrow I'll soak her in activated oxine and hope for the best. I have to hope for the best because here's our weather forecast for the next 10 days:

Oh boy!
I think she's going to be spending an awful lot of time in her stall if the forecast doesn't change at all between now and then. I'm hoping it will!

I've been soaking her hooves in apple cider vinegar (ACV) every other day, and spraying them with a spray bottle of ACV on the days I don't soak. I use my handy little horseshoe nail to scrape out any gunk I find up in there and have been doing a little bit of trimming every day too. Today I did a pretty hefty trim on each hoof to just get it over with and trim off as much toe as I dared.

Standing a little wonky... they almost look like hind hooves!
You can see the little bit of seedy toe on her right front hoof I've been fighting. It's not nearly as deep as her left hoof, so I'm hoping it won't break open (or I won't have to carve it out), assuming I caught it in time and the oxine does the trick. Other than the giant crater in her toe, I think her hooves look pretty good.

I took off her fly sheet because I knew the rain was coming, so now I have plenty of time to figure out how I'm going to patch the hole.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fly Sheet Update

Soooo... I might have to revise my "two thumbs up" review from yesterday because I'm not very happy with my fly sheet today. I went over to treat Lilly's hooves and found her sheet like this:

It has shifted just a bit.
And as if that wasn't enough to make me say GRRR, if you'll turn your attention to the red arrow in this picture, you'll see the other problem:

It looks even worse on this side!
Which is a quarter size hole that looks something like this:

Now, before I officially move one of my thumbs from the up position and rotate it to the down position, it's clear she rolled in it. I'm wondering if I had the belly band too tight, so when she twisted around while rolling, it shifted and couldn't readjust itself. I'm also wondering if one of the other horses could have grabbed it from over the fence and tugged on it. She was missing her fly mask this morning. I'm also wondering if the fly sheet came off last night and the barn owner slapped it on without taking much time to make it look pretty.

The hole, however, is not cool. Again, it could be from one of the other horses because they seemed to be quite interested in it yesterday. One of them could have grabbed it and yanked, causing the tear. I don't see how she could have done it in the pasture just from rolling, but perhaps.

These are all possible scenarios, so I'll withhold judgement until I'm able to gather more data. Either way, though, I'm a bit disappointed. Somehow I'll have to fix that hole...

In barn hunting news, I've chatted with a couple places and they all suck. Ok, maybe it's not that bad... No, it is! The problem is, I've done this SO MANY times before, that I pretty much know of every barn within a 40 mile radius of my house and they've all previously been crossed off my list for one reason or another. Either they're too far to drive, they're out of my price range, they don't have an arena, they're a shit hole, or I've already boarded there and left for one reason or another...

There's a place 5 minutes up the road that I would LOVE to board at, but the fences are falling down and the barn is dirty, dark, and falling apart. It used to be really nice, but it hasn't been taken care of. It's also right on a busy road and I've been warned to stay away. I looked at another place today that was really nice, but it would be a 30 minute drive. I'd do it, but 30 minutes is the maximum distance for me.

I'm so desperate that I put a wanted ad on Craigslist hoping to draw out the private barns that might not advertise. That's how you know it's bad!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Good News, Bad News

The good news is, my fly sheet came and I think it's a success! And well, it has to be because I dropped it in the muddy water in the wash rack. Probably couldn't return it even if I wanted to. Luckily, I think I'm going to like this sheet a lot.

The cutest horse model EVER!
Really putting it to the test.
Here's what I like about the sheet:
Fabric: It feels tough, yet not too heavy. It's nice having a sheet that feels durable and soft, all at the same time! It is reinforced around the shoulder area, and scrim most other places, so I feel like it should hold up well.
Color: It's blue and white, with reflectors on the tail cover and rear corners. Most people complained about it being white, but I actually love that it's white. My girl keeps her sheets pretty clean and white is the best color for my hot climate.
Fit: If I had to do it all over again, I might order one size up. Perhaps I'm just not used to a blanket that fits, but it feels a teeny bit snug in the shoulders. I'll have to see how she does with it. Otherwise, I love that it doesn't hang down to her knees, yet provides nice coverage.
Neck Cover: It's super cool because it has a spandex-y type material where the neck cover attaches to the sheet. So when she puts her head down, the cover stretches down with her. I won't ever use the little halter hooking strap on the top, but I can see where that would come in handy. The Velcro is super tough, but it won't snag the material if I accidentally Velcro the wrong spot.
Other Perks: The belly band is the bomb. It fits right over top of her hair whorls, so the bugs can SUCK IT this year. Or as the case may be, NOT suck it this year! :) The leg straps are nice, the tail cover is a respectable length, and I love almost everything about it.
Cons: I hate the buckles in the front. Why do they make the straps like a foot long? Is that so you can fit 4 different horses with one size? I prefer the kind of buckle that's on the belly band part of her sheet. But I suppose that's not a terrible con.
Overall: I give this sheet two thumbs up, and would recommend it to anyone in the market for a nice fly sheet. I paid $80 for mine, but I'm sure they'll go down in price soon... just 'cuz.

She loves it!
Now for the bad news... well, there's some not so good news, and there's some bad news. I'll start with the not so good news first.

My vet came out this morning to give Lilly her 6-way vaccine (Tetanus, East/West, West Nile, Flu/Rhino). Since rabies is what she had a reaction to before, we're going to wait and give her that next week, along with her strangles vaccine. The morning of her shot, we'll give her a bit of Banamine just in case she has a reaction again. The not so good news is that she looked at Lilly's teeth and wasn't happy with what she saw. She said it doesn't look like the dentist guy was able to reach the back teeth very well because they're pretty sharp. I suppose they could have sharpened a bit in the last two months, but probably not. After discussing my options, we decided to wait until fall unless she shows any signs of being uncomfortable. She said they're not bad, but they could stand to be done. We also tried using a speculum and Lilly was NOT happy, so I doubt I'll be able to have her done without a sedative next time around. The vet said she'd try for me, but after her reaction today, I don't see it happening. :(

Now for the bad news. A confidential informant notified me today about my barn owner's intention to sell his farm. He hasn't told any of the boarders yet, but the plan is in motion. It could be two months, it could be two years, depending on how long it takes to sell, but it looks like I'm in the market for a new barn... again.

I emailed a few people, but I haven't heard anything back yet. I don't have much luck with barns, so I'm not looking forward to this process.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seedy Toe Update

I visited my sweet pony today and she was very happy to see me. She actually jogged very quickly up to the gate when I called her name. It warms my heart when she does that. :)

I wasn't sure what to expect as far as her hoof was concerned, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. While I did have to cut off the floppy part at the very tip of her toe (would that be sole or laminae?), I thought everything else looked pretty good.

Here's a picture I took after I cleaned it all up:

She was so good about helping me take pictures. I placed her hoof up on the jack and she just left it there while I tried to get a photo that didn't look blurry. Sometimes I wonder what she's thinking while I'm doing all this crazy stuff to her.

I worked on the little pocket that I saw in yesterday's picture a bit more today, and while it's still there, it isn't hiding behind the hoof wall anymore. So I think I'm done digging around. Also, when I used my horseshoe nail to root around in there, no more gross blue cheese-y looking stuff came out.

I also checked her other hoof and the areas I was concerned about there look a bit better too. There's a tiny hole in the toe area of that hoof as well, but it was fairly clean inside, so I'm hoping I caught it in time and if I keep her treated, it'll just grow out. The other area I was concerned about is the lateral side of her hoof, actually in the white line. There's some separation there and I dug out some black stuff yesterday. Today it was clean, except for some dirt. So hopefully the soak helped that as well.

I didn't soak her hooves today because I feel like the moisture is part of the problem. So I'm torn between soaking to kill the bacteria and letting her hooves dry out a bit. So I think every other day would be a good plan. Technically they got wet anyway because I scrubbed them with dish soap and sprayed them down with ACV, but I didn't actually soak them. Since it rained a bit last night (AGAIN!) I put her in the stall so she could stand on dry land for the day. Hopefully that'll help. I might have to lock her up more often if we keep getting all this rain.

Also, thank you all so much for your comments yesterday. I was feeling pretty crappy about the whole situation, but I'm feeling better now. I just want my girl happy and healthy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seedy Toe?

Seedy toe is a separation of the horse’s hoof wall from the underlying sensitive laminae at the white line, resulting in a cavity which fills with crumbling dirt, horn and debris, and is prone to associated infection.

My trimmer thinks this is what Lilly has, and I tend to agree. Since she emailed me back with her diagnosis, I did a bunch of research and looked at hundreds of pictures, and this seems to be what's going on with her hoof. Seedy toe can occur in non-laminitic feet with long toe/low heel conformation, where the hoof wall separation and subsequent infection are the primary features. It may also occur in feet with poor front to back balance and may be predisposed by poor quality hoof horn.

All the articles I read make it sound like I'm doing a shitty job as a trimmer for my horse. I work really hard to keep her hooves balanced and to keep her toes short, but clearly I'm doing something wrong. And now I have a pretty big issue to fix. My trimmer said she's seeing this a lot because we've had such wet weather that past couple months, and something as simple as a little toe crack can allow bacteria in where they work their awful magic.

So probably what happened is, the bacteria got inside her hoof wall and chewed away until her hoof wall was compromised, and perhaps when she was out goofing off, she managed to break off that piece of hoof, exposing the now giant crater.

She recommended I use a dremel to cut away all the diseased areas until I hit solid wall, and then treat with oxine. There's no way I feel comfortable using a dremel on her hooves, so she said my hoof knife would probably be just as effective, so I went out today to cut away the hollowed out area. I could only find oxine online and it'll take a while to get here, so I bought a soaker boot and a gallon of apple cider vinegar.

Soaker boot...
Soapy water and ACV.
Looking pitiful with her boot.
I cleaned her hoof really well before putting on the soaker boot, and while she was soaking, I looked very closely at her other hoof. I found a few spots there as well that looked like they might be the start of white line/seedy toe, so I worked on those areas and then switched her soaker boot to the other hoof. I soaked each hoof for about 25 minutes.

Here's her hoof after I was done trying to chop away the diseased areas:

Giant crater even giant-er.
I can still see a hollow area near the crack, but I can only do so much with my hoof knife. I used a shoe nail to dig out the gross stuff from inside there and I'll take a look at it tomorrow. Perhaps I can get some more off then, or maybe it'll look better from being soaked.

I'm working with my trimmer long distance, but I feel a little in over my head. And I feel like I let Lilly down. I just hope this is as bad as it gets and I can get her back on track. It's going to take a while for this to grow out, and I'll have to pay really close attention in the future to keep this from happening again.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is It As Bad As I Think?

I found my pony in the pasture today with one of these:

It's pretty deep and she was a tiny bit lame when I walked her around on the concrete. If she happens to step on uneven ground or a rock with that hoof, she's really lame. I emailed my trimmer, but I guess there's not much I can do until her hoof grows out, but how worried should I be about dirt getting up in there and perhaps causing her to abscess or something? Should I wrap it up?

Pretty deep!
I have no idea how the heck she did it, but I have a feeling it's going to take a while to grow out. I'm also worried about the crack that's in the wall now too. :(

And as if that wasn't enough, my fly sheet was delayed because of the horrific events in Boston, so it won't get here until at least Wednesday, and sweet Lilly got a sunburn on her back. Pretty much right after she started shedding, she burned. She burned last year, but that was really the first time she burned. I'm not sure why she's suddenly so susceptible. Our weather is supposed to be pretty mild Monday and Tuesday, and then hopefully her sheet will come Wednesday. I hate to have her standing in a stall with this nice weather, but that might be what I'll have to do, at least for a couple days.

Oh, and her gorgeous spring coat is starting to come through!

Any ideas about what to do with her hoof??

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Officially Spring!

You know spring has officially arrived when it's time to break out the fly mask. Lilly always has goopy eyes in the spring when all the pollen shows up, and then goopy eyes again during the summer when something else shows up, and the gnats just love it! Her eyes were goopy today so it was time to bust out the fly mask. I think she looks rather adorable with it on. :)

Super cute, with her name on the mask and everything!
I also find it amusing when I look out in the pasture and see giant white spots where my pony has decided to roll. They're hard to miss!

Hmm, wonder where she likes to roll?
So, speaking of spring... the bugs are on their way and I have no fly sheet. Not good. I think I found one worth purchasing, though, and it's early enough that they haven't run out of Lilly's size. I did a post on it last fall, but didn't end up buying one. I demand a lot from my fly sheets, because my princess NEEDS certain features. Here are the items Lilly's fly sheet must have:

Belly band - Lilly has some hair whorls on her tummy and the gnats love to chew on her skin
Shoulder gusssets - She's a bit wide in the shoulders and the gusseted sheets seem to fit her better
Tail flap - Keeps those darn bugs out of her tail and helps keep her from rubbing
UV Protection - The sheet is just as much for sun block as it is for flies
Built in neck cover - No more shoulder sunburns and I don't want to mess with one that could possibly come off (for numerous reasons)
Soft material - None of that Textylene mesh stuff... it's too dang heavy

It's not easy finding a sheet with everything I'm looking for. In fact, I've only found one sheet that fits all the criteria, and that's the Interlock Mesh Combo Sheet from SSTack. The UV protection is only 80%, which is kind of low, but I like it otherwise. It's the euro design, but I've chatted with a few people who love the fit on stocky horses because the coverage it better, so I'm going to take a chance on it.

Interlock Mesh Bellyband Combo Fly Sheet
Has anyone purchased a fly sheet from Schneider's since I posted about this one last September? I have a few of their blankets, but I don't know anyone with a fly sheet. They make great stuff, so I'm hoping their fly sheets are just as awesome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blast From The Past

Lilly is finally starting to shed! I think she was holding on to the hair for dear life while we were having crazy weather, and now that we're having days and days of decent weather, she's trying to shed it all at once. I couldn't believe how much hair was on the wash stall floor when I was done with her. I even saw a tiny bit of dark spring coat coming through. I can't wait!

I was looking forward to a nice ride, and I started out trying to take a picture of us together, but my camera is so heavy! It's really hard to hold it at arm's length and snap a photo where I don't look like a goober. Here's the best one!

Say cheese!
Monday's ride did not go well... it was like a blast from the past. For some reason, I was riding the Lilly from a couple years ago! About 12 strides into our ride, I knew I was going to have an issue. During our warm up, which is nothing but a nice, brisk walk around the arena with circles and bending, she was super forward, chomping on the bit, and decided to start trotting every chance she got.

Uhhh... Lilly? What's going on?

Taken before the mayhem.
She just seemed irritated. She had an attitude and there was a lot of tail wringing and she fought me every step of the way. I couldn't get a nice jog, I couldn't get a nice lope, and everything was exaggerated. Initially, I decided to take advantage of all her extra energy and work on flying lead changes, but she refused to switch leads when I asked and instead performed a nice halt. So after fighting with her for a good 20 minutes, I decided to just let her run. I asked for the lope and we zoomed around the arena no less than 3,263 times until she finally decided she was too tired to continue. I made her jog and lope nice and easy at that point so we could at least end on a good note... sort of.

Bad, sweaty pony.
This is so not normal for her. She isn't one to have an attitude for no apparent reason. I'm not sure what was going on... perhaps it's the start of her first heat cycle and she felt poorly? I don't know, but I'm hoping our next ride will be much better than this one!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Celebrating A Bit Late

Yesterday was Lilly's birthday, but I wasn't able to get out to the barn before work. So today I was determined to spend some quality time with her even though it was raining when I left the house.

She was in her stall when I got there and she nickered when she saw me. I hoped that meant she forgave me for missing her birthday yesterday, but just in case, I brought her a handful of peppermints. That seemed to do the trick!

I wanted to take her for a quick ride but the weather just wouldn't cooperate. I had her all saddled up and ready to go, and that's when the rain started up again. After I untacked her, the rain stopped. GRR! So I saddled her back up, and the dang rain came again. I can take a hint from the universe, so I gave up on the idea of going for a ride and we went outside to find some grass to snack on instead. It didn't rain on us again, and the sun even popped out for a bit.

Such a sweet face!
She always has a fan club no matter where she goes!
This time last year I was showing you pictures of the gorgeous spring coat Lilly has when she first sheds out. Her birthday post showed a nearly shed out Lilly, but this year I'm still knee deep in winter hair. She even had a sunburn last year in April!

Birthday hay!
Not a single spot of dark, beautiful spring coat can be found anywhere. Not even on her face. Crazy weather.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Teenager?!

I've been a bad blogger because the weather has finally been awesome, super, and fantastic, and I've been outside enjoying it ALL DAY LONG. I think I came close to over-dosing on vitamin sun and I couldn't be happier.

Today is Lilly's birthday, but my plans to spoil her rotten were ruined by our A/C, which decided it wasn't really ready for summer weather yet, so I had to deal with that. I will pretend that tomorrow is Lilly's birthday and hopefully she won't be too mad at me for celebrating late. :(

I can't believe she's turning 13 today... where does the time go? My sweet Lilly is officially a teenager! Here's an adorable picture of her when she was a weanling. I had just brought her home a few months prior, and I was so in love.

So stinkin' cute!
I'm still in love... I thank God every day that I found her. I look forward to all the wonderful years we'll share together that are yet to come.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! I will make it up to you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Playing In the Round Pen

I gave Lilly a pedicure today and she seemed to really enjoy it. She likes to fall asleep, and I love seeing her lick and chew when I set her hooves down. That's something she never did prior to having her shoes removed and now she does it quite a bit. I still need to give her quite a few breaks while I'm trimming so she can adjust herself, but we've definitely made progress. I couldn't be happier with her hooves if I tried!

After I was done trimming, we went out to the round pen to have a little fun. We haven't been able to spend much time in there because one of the horses at the barn is on limited turnout and he usually has it occupied. She started out full of energy, bucking, rearing, and hopping around but eventually ran out of steam. I tried to get some pictures, but she never cooperates.

Even though she was having a grand old time showing off for her audience of four geldings, she was always listening and being a good girl. I sure do love this sweet face!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bath Time!

While Lilly might look clean, I assure you, she is not. She has about 5 months of dirt and dust underneath all that hair and she is just gross. Since we FINALLY had a nice, warm day, I decided to give her a bath. I have been dying to give her a bath for months, and it was nice that the weather decided to cooperate. I actually ended up bathing her twice because even after the first bath, I still couldn't see any pink skin. After the second bath, though, she looked like a million bucks. She's really starting to shed too, so the bath helped pull out a ton of hair.

I sprayed her down with Vetrolin Shine (my favorite product ever) to make sure she stays as clean as possible for as long as possible. She's not one to roll after a bath, but I wasn't taking any chances, so I took her out to find some grass while she dried in the sunshine . When I was all done with her, she smelled like strawberries and was as soft as a bunny. And just look at her shine! :)

She just wouldn't put her ears up!
That's better!
I took the pictures after she was dry, so she had just spent the last hour eating grass. Apparently she wasn't done because she decided her green lead rope looked an awful lot like grass and kept picking it up off the ground and chewing on it. She never does that!!

"om nom nom..."
I sure hope we're done with the winter weather now... Monday's gorgeous temperatures spoiled me and I'm ready for that to be the norm!