Saturday, June 30, 2012

Golden Girl

Pangea says, welcome to Hell Texas summer!

Having always had stalled-with-turnout horses up until I turned Gogo out last year, I think I somewhat underestimated how much work it is to try and keep a pastured horse clean. Basically, it is a completely impossible and totally futile task that causes me daily agony and misery. Gogo was always so clean, so sparkly, so brilliantly shiny and colorful, and with SUCH A BEAUTIFUL THICK GLOSSY TAIL ZOMG MY EYES I'M BLIND. This was largely due to the fact that she lived inside in the shade with a fan, and wore a flysheet in the summer whenever she was out.

As for Pangea, with that beautiful, rich, dappled coat? It has vanished with the temperature spike, replaced by a horribly dull, pale, burnt-looking sunbleached mess of washed-out color, crispy and dry as can be. Why? Because when the temperature spiked, she spent every day of her life soaked in sweat, standing out in the blazing sunlight (she chooses not to stand in the shade of her shed or her shady trees), letting the salty grime give her streaky blonde highlights in the areas that she sweats the most. The result? Patches of gold on her neck and back, along with a nice golden stripe down each front leg where the path of sweat runs. And it isn't a nice gold either... it is faded and crispy. No amount of rinsing her sweaty self managed to help prevent the issue. As for her poor tail, she spends so much of her time swatting at flies that it gets coated in sweat as well, and of course snags on everything that it comes in contact with. As a result, it is grimy, tangled, and half torn out. She is also very itchy due to all the sweat, so she grinds dirt into her coat every time she gets too hot - which also tears out more of her tail. Also ALSO, she pees in her tail. I CAN'T WIN.

Basically, my beautifully dappled bay has turned into some sort of weird dun/buckskin hybrid with a rump still full of butt dapples and a front end that doesn't match the rear. She looks horrible... I am truly embarrassed. There's not much that I can do until her coat sheds out and she grows a new one... arghhh!

I have a fly sheet on her for the moment, but it is just as an experiment - I am pretty sure that even the lightest one that I have will be too hot for her. It's a bit too late anyway.... sigh!

Yeesh, how embarrassing. If anyone has tips on keeping a sweaty horse who lives outside from sunbleaching, PLEASE do share! Same goes for keeping a decent tail on a pastured horse as well! Gogo had the same issue last year with her tail and the sunbleaching.... it was awful!

Check it out, I caught her doing a naughty when she was at the pool barn yesterday - I never net hay and elevate it as a rule (not good for TMJs to eat anywhere but off the ground) but when she is there for the day, I net it to keep it from blowing away in the nonstop gale force winds we have going. She, as you can see, was NOT amused by the slow feeder and made several attempts to tear it down (only succeeded once).

Naughty girl.

Sigh... but really, this horrible bleaching-in-sweaty-areas-only issue. Tips?? I'm not suspecting a nutritional issue at this point since it seems so perfectly connected with the sweat and heat and blazing sun, and she was so gleaming and dapply up until two weeks ago, but I'll keep it in mind as a possibility.

The health benefits of 24/7 turnout are obviously massively greater than keeping her stalled and inside, but it is a truthful PITA, and I never realized just how messy it could be - or remembered, I guess... Quincy used to live outside, after all!

EDITED TO ADD: Please, please keep my sweet Mimi in your thoughts... she is in kitty ICU right now with a blazing fever of unknown origin, no appetite for food or water, and strange jerky eye movements. It might be a simple infection that will clear with antibiotics, or it might be something so sinister that we could lose her. Please send good positive vibes our way... I'll just die if something happens to my precious Mimer.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Up and Running

Again, I am lax on my blogging. My blogging muse seems to be stuck in a perpetual coma I guess. I keep hoping that one of these days I will wake up and find myself inspired, but so far that hasn't been the case. Blogging just hasn't been the same for me after Gogo died. Also, I'm pretty sure that none of what I have to say is remotely interesting anymore. It doesn't make for a lot of collective motivation, unfortunately.

Miss Herself is back to work again, and feels basically exactly the same as she did before all of the massive workup that I did on her. This is a little bit disappointing, but I guess not altogether unexpected - she's been living this way for years and years now, so nothing is going to be magically fixed overnight. Whether or not it will ever seriously improve is hard to say, but she is getting along decently enough. In addition to the dental work and the BL Pellets, I also casted her all the way around for a little temporary help while we are experiencing this neverending wet-dry-wet-dry-wet-dry cycle.(Hopefully it is all over for the summer... bring on the um, drought?)

She loves the casts. The wet-dry cycles we were going through were wreaking havoc on her poor little thin soled feet, and I had to do something a little more drastic in order to break the cycle. It would pour, her feet would get soggy from the massive amounts of rain, and then would still be soft by the time the ground hardened up again (which is always within a day). She was right crippled on the sharp gravel driveway, and was starting to even be footsore in her pen. Since boots are not really designed for 24/7 usage (she needed them in her pen as well), I opted for temporary casts. In her casts, she can march up and down the gravel roads without issue, and clearly feels much better. The casts are not long-term, and will probably come off in another week or two. We'll reevaluate then to see what we have going on.

We're slowly going to up the workload and see how the handles it in preparation for fall and winter hunting. I don't really think she'll be up for first field (although you never know), but she'll make an excellent second field horse for sure. I spent yesterday morning getting to know the members of our local hunt, roading the hounds on foot and drinking entirely too many mimosas at their annual picnic. They were all very funny and welcoming and I certainly hope to make roading with them a regular summer occurrence... and hunting with them in the winter one as well!

And if you haven't heard yet.... check out Bay Girl's blog for some very exciting news!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enjoying the last of her vacay!

Pangea is enjoying the last bit of her vacay in peace...

She is utterly filthy, as a few of my clients witnessed last night! We were joking around that everyone that reads this blog only ever sees her being clean and sparkly... but they have proof that she does indeed get to be a filthy dirty horse when on vacation! She is so NASTY.... can't wait to toss her back in the pool tomorrow and unearth an actual animal under the layer of caked-on Texas crust.

Tomorrow, she swims in the AM, and then she sees the chiropractor. I'm giving the guy a second chance to see if he can actually do a little something for her or not... last time I thought we had plenty of issues to work on, and he didn't say much of anything about it (or do much of anything). This time, there are CLEARLY some big things going on, and I'm curious to see what he has to say. He completely 100% missed her teeth and TMJ issues last time, so I'm not sure what he will or will not catch this go-around. We'll see.

And then, we go back to work! Enjoy being lazy and dirty for a final day, my mare! Then it is back to being CLEAN!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Phew... it feels good to have things that desperately needed to be addressed actually get addressed, doesn't it? After waiting on the dentist's backed up new client list for over three weeks, Pangea was finally able to be seen and worked on. It was worth the wait... and worth the mucho $$$$$$$ that it cost!

As a horse owner and professional, I would say I know a fair bit more than your average horse owner about dentistry. With a brief refresher, I could name every tooth in a horse's mouth by number and quadrant. I can recognize pathologies visually from the outside as well as the inside of a horse's mouth, I can evaluate my dentist for exactly the things that I want to have worked on, and I can tell whether or not I've been duped by someone who is floating my horse's teeth. Everything my dentist had to say about my horse's mouth and issues aligned exactly with what I expected to hear, and the way she handled her speculum and tools made me very happy. She only opened the speculum for as long as she needed to to get in and out for each particular part of the adjustment, and then she shut it and let Pangea's TMJ relax. (If your dentist makes your horse sit with a fully opened speculum in her mouth for any lengthy period of time, run away and get a new dentist!!) She also worked for part of the time while kneeling, which was great for Pangea as she didn't have to crank her head up to the ceiling and stress out her already unhappy TMJ and atlas/axis. She did, unfortunately, have to be sedated THREE times during the procedure... she kept waking up! (Just like her daddy, that one... we had to cocktail the crap out of him repeatedly during every procedure we ever had to do with him. Gogo, on the other hand, was a classic lightweight and would be swaying on her feet with less than a quarter of the drugs needed to quiet horses twice her size. Cheap date.)

Pangea had some pretty obvious TMJ issues going on, which I suspected and discussed in my dental post a few weeks ago. Her left temporalis muscle - the big lumpy one - corresponded to the fact that she had actually been floated sometime in the recent past... but the whackadoo that did her left her entire right molar arcade completely out of occlusion save for one single molar in the back of her mouth that was eternally too high and damaging the opposing lower molar! She was working overtime to make the rest of those teeth touch, and she couldn't. The left side of her mouth had just enough occlusion and sharp points on the edges of her molars that pieces of her cheek were slipping inbetween them and getting torn up pretty badly. (Hmm, wonder why she was having trouble with left bend.) Her incisors, unlike her over-floated molars, were at far too steep of an angle and had been completely untouched by the previous dentist. When chewing, she had no free-floating motion of her mandible (which they need for oral health), so her incisors were receiving uneven wear and actually had something of a ventral smile to them. No bueno!

Drugged and standing quietly with a closed speculum.... no unnecessary cranking open here!

Molar adjustments. Taking away the sharp hooks and working out two molars that were totally missed by the last guy and were standing WAY too tall compared to all her other teeth!

Incisor adjustment.

She is chewing SO much better now!

Unfortunately, I have not been back on her to see how she feels under saddle. The weather has completely failed me in the fact that it suddenly out of nowhere became 100F every day with unusually blazing humidity, and Pangea is suffering for it. She is lathered in sweat every day when I go out to see her, and she is losing weight. We've also had several huge rainstorms offset by some desperately dry weather, and her feet are struggling to keep up with the changes. She is exceedingly footsore on any type of terrain that isn't her paddock (nice sandy loam), and it is to the point that it is negatively affecting her body. On top of all of that, she needs another chiro adjustment - due to the amount of dental work she needed, her entire body is back out of whack again. We're basically at a standstill until we get readjusted and help her feet out. I have a little something up my sleeve for her which I will wait to discuss until we get to try it out, but I'm hoping that with a little bit of time off and some general light maintenance and fixing-up, we can get over this little blip in the road and continue on. Everything had been pretty upwards until now, so I think it will only be a short matter of time until things are back to running smoothly again.

This heat sucks!!