Friday, July 24, 2009

The Week From Hell cont...

Before I get into the details there is one thing I want to stand out AND be remembered...
The BLM is good and they really do care about the horses they're charged with managing despite some public criticism to the contrary.

That said, bear with me as I tell this story. It has been the week from hell in more than one way. But we will survive and get over our problems. Johnny/Blue will also survive and get over his "problems", but he'll never be the same.
The week from hell started late last Friday night when Ron got home with an abcess in his upper right jaw. This had been building for a good week and he spent Wednesday night in an ER in Texas before finally getting home Friday. We spent most of the weekend moving horses to the "new digs"and sitting in the ER at the VA hospital in Columbia.
Sunday we get to Dawn and Steves and they announce they got two horses given to them and point to the pasture... "Look what we got"
Two mares. Mother and daughter to be exact. Mom is a pony, Hackney I suspect given her tail carriage and high stepping gaits. That could also be on account of her feet which are about 8 to 10 inches long, curling and broken. I'm already thinking "this ain't gonna work". The daughter, 2 yrs old is 3 times the size of her mama, has paint markings and is pretty cute except you can't get within 10 feet of her. She's never been handled. We now have 9 horses on the 7 acre pasture I just rented. I wasn't aware that I would have to share it...
The freebie mares like this new pasture, and they want it all for themselves I think. I've never watched such shit disturbing in my life! Not only are they a miserable pair but they set out to make every other horse miserable. They hound the others like yappy terriers. I watched Jake, Earl and Showdown take turns at standing their ground and threatening to kick back. The "bullies" go looking for someone else to hound each time. Bailey got picked on. Bill got picked on and Johnny/Blue got picked on. Bob got picked on when he arrived Monday morning. All 4 have been chewed on, mainly their butts with the exception of Bob. They got his neck too. But I get ahead of myself...
Monday morning we head out to meet up with John who has brought Bob home.
To make a long, sad story short, all looks ok. Not well, but ok. These two mares are still hounding our horses, kicking out and trying to boss them around. Jake and Earl would have none of it and stood their ground. Showdown and Bailey are paired off and off by themselves. Bill, and Johnny/Blue are also off by themselves grazing peacefully. I go over to greet them and give out pets and whatnot and... something's not right with Johnny. I get in closer for a better look. Holy Shit what's wrong with his eye?! Johnny's right eye looks like something caught it at the front and moved along to the back and exited through his lower lid leaving a small tear in the lid and God only knows what damage to eye. He doesn't respond to me flicking my hand or fingers at him. I assume he's lost sight in it. I start screaming for Ron, which scared Johnny and he moved away. I grab Bill and Johnny comes back - he's sticking real close to his buddy Bill. Anyway Ron gets a look and then takes Bill so I can catch Johnny.
John's trailer was already attached to his truck so we didn't have to waste any time hooking ours up. We loaded Bill and Johnny and headed for the vet's. I took Bill along because although Johnny is gentled he's high strung and still very reactive. Bill seemed to be a very calming influence so he came along as Johnny's security blanket.
I got my cell phone out. I couldn't reach Gaby or Randy at the Millwaukee office. I called Janet Hickman and she got Karen Malloy's number for me. I called Karen in a panic, what do I do? I assumed that being blind in one eye he would be considered unadoptable and Karen would instruct me to have him put down. To my relief and joy, her concern was to save the eye. Cost didn't seem to matter and she told me right away to have the vet call her for a credit card number, which took another load off me. This horse is in my care, he's really my responsibility. There were no questions from Karen, just concern. Save the eye if possible and have the vet send us the bill. I was crying on the phone with her, I was so relieved that he wouldn't have to be put down.
Anyway, the prognosis is still guarded. I'm applying antibiotic ointment 3 times daily and giving bute twice daily. I think the eye ruptured on the way home from the vet. It had started swelling on the way to the vet, and continued to swell. When we got home there was a lot of fluid draining down his face and lots of goop in the corner of his eye (see pictures). I did as the vet instructed and cleaned it away and applied the ointment, and gave him his first dose of bute. This was Monday.

This is how he looked when we arrived home from the vet's.

Ron went back to work on Tuesday. Antibiotics had his mouth feeling better and he sees a dentist this coming Monday. Johnny/Blue is doing better than expected. No infection and the eye seems to be healing nicely. We got some panels from MFA to set up an "isolation pen" for him. Another big thanks goes to Kevin at MFA. We're all but broke with Ron starting a new job and moving into a new home and new pasture for the horses (no paycheck for 2 weeks is a killer). Kevin extended credit for the 5 panels to make this pen.
Dental woes are contagious. I didn't know that. Bet you didn't either eh?
Tuesday my mouth starting bothering me *sigh* Wednesday I just had to have nachos, nice crunchy nachos.... I think a piece broke off a tooth while I was crunching those nachos? Sometime in the wee hours of Thursday morning I knew I was in big trouble. Tramadol wasn't touching the pain. That clove oil stuff for toothaches wasn't doing a damn thing either. I've been paranoid of dentists for more years than I can remember and I thought I knew every trick in the book for avoiding dentists. Nothing was working. I'd already started swallowing amoxicillin Wed night, but it wasn't kicking in yet. I've got some nice swelling in my lower jaw. I headed out to treat Johhny's eye and when I got back did what my daughter (who works for a dentist) suggested - I took two extra strength Tylenol and three Advil and went to bed. I finally got some sleep - almost 6 hours worth. The Tylenol/Advil combination really helped. As long as I take them at least every 8 hours I can function relatively pain free.

Johnny is doing much better than I am. I got more pictures yesterday but they're crappy as I was shooting into the sun so there's not much point posting them. No sign of infection still. The eye is healing nicely, the red haze is now gone and the swelling in the upper and lower lids is disappearing. I don't think he has any hope of regaining any sight in it - it's a milky white globe. It does look to me like he will keep it though and that's the most important thing right now.
What's really amazing is this horse's resilience. He's accomodating nicely to life with one eye. "Nicely" doesn't begin to cover it. He's amazing. He keeps his left side to the outside of the pen so he can easily see the other horses, he already has a way of cocking his head in order to see with the left eye without bringing his head all the way around. Getting the anitbiotic ointment into his eye has become a game to him - he tries to eat my elbow while I try to get the ointment in his eye instead of on his eyelids or his halter, or cheek, or forelock... For a newly-gentled Mustang he is SOOO accepting of this sudden blindness and the treatment that's come with it. It simply blows me away.
His future is still uncertain. Dawn and Steve wanted to adopt him. Now they're not so sure. Monday when this happened they were no longer interested. By Tuesday they were reconsidering and are now waiting to see how he manages when turned back out with the others, which I may try over the weekend. If they don't adopt him he will probably go back to the BLM and become unadoptable. The idea of this wonderful 2 yr old being unadoptable breaks me up. We rent our pasture. Ron's pointed out several times that we do not have the property to keep him, there's now more horses on this pasture than it can support since the two freebies arrived.
Any interested adopters out there?

Showdown & The Week From Hell

Ron's birthday is in August. I decided he needed an early birthday present. Her name is Showdown and that's partly why I felt we needed her. When Ron played music way back when, the name of his band was Showdown. Some things are meant to be right?

Showdown is a 3 yr old Paint mare (not registered) and was bought by Michelle who adopted one of my TIP mares last fall. Michelle bought her as a favor to a co-worker who needed to sell the mare. Only problem is when Michelle adopted Freedom she also bought Rosie from Auntie and Rosie is QUEEN OF THE PASTURE. Rosie sees Showdown as a young upstart and a threat to her kingdom. Result: Cat fights!
Ok, that's being a little dramatic I admit. Michelle does say that her pasture and herd are now much quieter with Showdown absent so I think it's safe to say she was a little (or big) Shit Disturber. Now she reigns over my boys, and yes, they are smitten.

Bob and Bill couldn't care less. Earl and Jake on the other hand are head over heels as is evident in the picture above. They've been so busy strutting their stuff for her! After a couple of days it looked like Earl won her favor. He now has his own little herd consisting of Showdown and Bailey. They're quite the nice looking family unit. Jake has gone back to being his aloof, snotty self. Nothing new there...
Ron, well he's still undecided. Actually he says she's going back to Michelle, we don't need another horse, especially one without any manners or respect for people. Michelle seems to be from the same bleeding heart school that I went to. She knew the horse needed a home so she took her knowing her faults. So did I. Showdown is the victim of a caring owner who apparently didn't know that making a pet of a 1000 lb horse could cause problems down the road. Showdown doesn't mean to be disrespectful or hard-headed, she doesn't know any better. To her credit, she's smart and catches on quickly. She can be ridden, but again she doesn't know anything. It's a get on and go sort of deal. I aim to fix all that; if I get to keep her around long enough that is. I just need a few days of Ron around her and he'll be suckered in just like I have by her looks and personality. Plus she's taken Bailey under her wing when everyone else seems to ignore her. Poor Bailey had gotten so afraid of big horses at "Uncle Rick's" and was desperate for some attention. Showdown has been a blessing in that regard. They look like a mare/foal pair from a distance and no one dares to mess with wee Bailey now that Showdown is in the picture.
It's been the week from hell otherwise. Dawn and Steve had two horses given to them. They arrived on Sunday and all hell broke loose. Two mares; a mother daughter pair. They seemed joined at the hip and intent on making every other 4-legged creature miserable. It's not enough to threaten to kick or bite when another horse comes near, no, they have to hound the others with no let up in tag team fashion. Except for Jake, Earl and Showdown, all my horses have been beat up by them in one way or another. Bill, Bob, Bailey and Johnny/Blue all have "war wounds" from these two mares. The mares, of course, don't have a mark on them. This gets a whole new post because of certain developments... Two posts in one day.
Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Digs!

We decided that we needed the boys closer to home. Several reasons brought this decision about. First was cost. At 52.5 miles round trip, it was rather expensive driving up to the farm every day, especially when that trip was made just to feed while it was raining. And it's rained a lot this year, which brings me to the second reason; MUD
Way too much mud. The boys are on a hill, you'd think the rainwater would run off. It does, but only to an extent. The bottom of their area has been wet since ohh about February. The top of our hill has been waterlogged for weeks now. Parts of the round pen dry up just in time for another deluge to come down. Outside of the round pen never did dry up. Bob and Earl are both suffering from heel cracks. This really bothered me and got me started on my campaign with Ron to move them.
Third reason: Hay. We have to feed it year round in this area because it's not a pasture. It's a wooded hillside. It's been great for strengthening Bill's bad hock. I think it's also helped Bob's stifles because I haven't seen any sign of weakness yet this summer. But there's no grass to really speak of. Not to mention they can't go for a good run across the pasture like most horses can. They fly up that hill, ditching and diving around trees and buck, but it's just not the same. Anyway back to hay... We took to feeding the big round bales our first winter at the farm (2007) as per Auntie's request. Certain family members do not show the respect they should for an expensive piece of farm equipment - the tractor. Auntie decreed not too long ago that no one drives the tractor but Gerry. Ok, Gerry has to put the bales into our horses now. Except Gerry and Auntie aren't there. They're down at the lake. New crop bales sit there in the rain while I run around and buy small squares to feed. Getting my truck up the hill with these small bales is no easy undertaking when it's muddy.
The decision to move the horses became an easy and logical one. I found a 7 acre pasture with a barn and woven wire fencing (no more barb wire to pull manes!) 1.8 miles from our front door to parked in their driveway!
Earl and Jake were moved Tuesday into this 7 acre pasture. They look so small cuz it's a big space for two horses... They love it. I love it. Steve and Dawn, owners of this property love having horses in it. The little dog, Buster loves having horses to follow and chase, although they outrun him pretty quick. These two pictures were taken with the camera zoomed in as much as it would zoom in. Did I tell you it's only 1.8 miles from my door?
I moved Bailey on Thursday. Bill and Johnny/Blue will move in today, as soon as I get in gear and go to pick them up.
And there's another new one in the group, but those pictures are still in my camera so I'll post about that later...