Monday, March 18, 2019

green-ing my horse habits

The Atlantic recently ran a piece on the increasingly dire state of current affairs vis-a-vis recycling. Basically, uh, it ain't really happening right now in a lot of places, since China stopped buying some classes of waste from America, especially plastics.

Apparently, China's manufacturing boom over the last few decades meant they had a near-insatiable appetite for materials, and would pay top-dollar for recyclable plastics and paper from the US and abroad. Paired with the cheap labor to handle sorting the good from the bad, it seemed like a win-win. Except.... the "bad" that got sorted out from what was recyclable had to go somewhere, right? And it ended up getting dumped in communities and contributing to the nasty state of ecological affairs in many areas of China. So, finally, their government decided to end their practice of buying other countries' trash.

in other "green" news, the spring grass is on its way!
So now, much of the carefully sorted and set aside recyclables from US households are being lumped in with the rest of our garbage for incineration. Mostly bc alternative options are straight up cost-prohibitive for many communities, esp those whose resources are already stretched thin. Which makes sense, right? Up until recently, the recyclables had an actual market value and could be sold. Now the tables have turned and communities are paying to handle the waste.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic notes that individual consumption and waste production are actually on the rise in recent years:
In 2015, the most recent year for which national data are available, America generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and 60 percent from 1985. That amounts to nearly five pounds per person a day.

There's more here from NPR if you're curious about the situation and it's implications. This article in particular points out the pervasiveness and problematic nature of thin plastic wraps and films. Apparently those types of plastic are basically non recyclable plus have a nasty habit of gumming up sorting machines. And, go figure, they're practically everywhere. Like... The 24pk of individually wrapped vet wrap that's sitting in my tack locker right now....

suddenly all the little blooming flowers are waking up!
Anyway tho. Ahem.

The world is so very, very full of problems. And I am just one small being. What possible difference could I make? Like. It's hard to believe that even cutting my own waste by some fraction could make a difference. But I *am* a numbers person. Telling me a metric to beat like "5lbs a day" gives me at least something to work with, right? And telling me that thin plastic wraps and films top the list of "things to avoid" helps me make better choices.

Reading that article reminded me of another story I read years and years ago about this dude who spent a year collecting his own trash. A quick google didn't turn up the story I'm thinking of, bc apparently it's been repeated and copied by many others since then...

But the gist was: this guy decided that for an entire year he would keep ALL his garbage, to see what it actually amounted to over time. When he first started, it was overwhelming and awkward. Especially while he was out and about during the day - he'd have to hang on to all those nasty wrappers and napkins and packets and byproducts all day long until he could get home to squirrel it away in his basement.

Likewise, his poor wife and kids had to put up with all that actual literal trash in their house (tho he did not subject them to keeping their garbage too). Over time, tho, his habits and choices adapted and evolved to where he was producing less and less waste until eventually it was just a fraction of where he started.

He discovered that the mere act of confronting his waste in real time allowed him to understand what produced it, and be realistic about what steps he could take to reduce his "trash footprint."

they won't last long, but they're so pretty!
Now. Right off the bat, I can promise you that I WILL NOT be doing anything even remotely similar to that experiment haha. Not even the temptation of some sort of weird book deal could induce me. But it's interesting to think about, right? And I thought I'd put a little bit of a horsey spin on the whole idea, within reason of course.

Basically, I wanted to think through all the avenues in which my horse habit produces waste. And, in doing so, think of ways that might be a little more environmentally friendly. Or at least, ways of reducing my overall footprint, especially in light of the current recycling crisis.

So. What are the byproducts of my horse habit?

Feed bags. Charlie goes through a bag of grain a week, so that's 50+ feedbags thrown out over the course of the year. Well, maybe slightly fewer than 50 bc my barn uses feedbags as liners for our trash cans. Apparently there are other creative ways to reuse these bags, too, ranging from wildly impractical to more realistic (like using bags to store hay during trips, or for storing blankets during the off season. Oooh and lots of uses in the garden, who knew?).

Supplement containers. I buy most supplements in bulk, and the 5gal buckets are usually easy to rehome haha, esp for watering chores. Smaller tubs can also be useful for storage and organization, tho many are not very durable.

Baggies. My barn requires that I premix and measure Charlie's supplements, and I've been using baggies for this. The baggies are reusable, but generally not indefinitely. At some point they get holes or the seals get gummed up. I've used small tupperwares before too, tho they can often be bulky. This is an area I'm brainstorming for improvements!

related image: my trash hound of a horse LOVES that we use feedbags as liners haha
Bandaging material. This is obvi a big one lately for Charlie, considering he spent the better part of two weeks getting a daily hoof wrap, which included cotton pads, vet wrap, and a not-insignificant amount of duck tape. All of which just got thrown out at the end of the day. Stephanie recently reviewed Woof Wear's reusable medical hoof boot, and ultimately felt like it wasn't durable enough for the price. But now I'm wondering, even if that boot only lasts 2 weeks, would it still be an improvement on the disposable wraps? It's hard to say.

Misc containers. I've reused a fair amount of old bottles and such (esp spray bottles!) from grooming products and what have you. Mostly tho, they go in the trash when they're used up.

Fly spray. I buy mine in concentrate form, and then mix batches throughout the summer. Just googling this subject tho brought up a really important point: Every chemical I use on the farm, stays on the farm for a long, long time. Whether it's processed through manure, or rinsed off the horse in bathing, or whatever. Those chemicals stick around in the ground and ground water. Fly spray in particular is a big contributor (so, apparently, are bathing products), and also a product that can be swapped for DIY home remedies.

Dewormers, it turns out, are kinda a big deal in this regard too. Apparently they're considered hazardous waste, something I've literally never thought about once in my life. And many of those chemicals pass through the horse and end up in manure in the pastures. My habit with Charlie has been to only deworm in response to a positive fecal test. There's a lot I don't know about this subject tho, and had actually planned to attend a lecture on dewormers held by one of my vets at the local Dover, but unfortunately couldn't make it. Anyway, some of my research suggested the following as alternatives to chemical dewormers: medicinal plants (blackberries, periwinkle, pine needles, queen anne’s lace, tarragon, wild ginger, and wild onion) and diatomaceous earth (glass like powder from fossils of aquatic organisms that cuts the parasites).

Packaging from everything else. This includes shipping materials or whatever other packaging that comes with the products I buy. And, god but there's so much of it...

shout out to Amelia who sent me this freakin adorable duck tape!!!
All the above outlines most of the actual physical byproducts of my horse habit. The pieces that are most directly related to the question of "How much trash do I actually produce in a day?"

There's more to it than that, tho. Isn't there always?

In looking further into the subject of eco horse keeping, farm management is one of the biggest factors. Obviously I don't manage a farm. I don't get to make those big choices around water and land resources and management. But I still have a footprint:

Water. When I really sit down to think about it, I use a lot of water at the barn. Bathing my horse or even just hosing him off after a ride. Cleaning tack. Rinsing the dust off stuff. Desperately trying to get the magic cushion off my hands. Etc etc etc.

One idea to reduce my consumption is bathing with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose, or at least making sure the hose has a nozzle on it so it doesn't run when not directly in use. Another is to use "gray" water (like from the barrels that collect rain water and roof runoff) for chores like tack cleaning or giving things a quick rinse.

Hay. Prices around here have skyrocketed over the past months. Our weather last year was so atrociously wet that the hay crops were not only bad quality, but also low quantity. Not a great combo. My farm has had to raise prices bc of this, and also recently instituted a new hay net rule to reduce wastage.

Energy. In the summer we're allowed to put box fans on our stalls while the horses are in during the day time. It's required for safety reasons that the fans be on timers, but this also helps avoid running the fans when they're not needed.

lol charlie would just rather be a dirty dusty piggy anyway
- Transportation. Soooo.... I own three vehicles haha, one of which is a 20 year old pickup that nobody would consider "green." Still tho, there are choices I can make to improve efficiency - like keeping the truck tuned up with air in the tires. Carpooling where possible. Choosing routes that avoid inefficient stop-go traffic in exchange for steady and efficient highway travel.

My buddy who helped me truck shop in the first place has always encouraged me to consider getting a diesel engine, esp for my eventual next tow vehicle. Turns out, apparently diesels are also more efficient than gasoline engines too, so that's worth considering.

Another transportation related idea: keep the trailer stocked with reusable supplies like cups, refillable water bottles, thermoses, etc. In the past I've always just grabbed a case of water bottles or what have you for horse shows, but considering the current plight of recycling, I want to rethink this.

- General equipment. My final thought on my horse-related environmental footprint relates to all the various gear, equipment, tack, accessories, etc., that I use every single day for riding and horse keeping. I'm already a big fan of buying used bc generally my dollars can go farther in the second hand market when it comes to quality. Plus, I'm lucky in my area to have robust consignment shops.

But obviously some things I buy new, too. Which means packaging and often shipping. My own frugal habits tend to lead me toward buying cheaper stuff. But then maybe those items don't last as well, or aren't in good enough shape to donate when I'm finished with them. So I'm going to try to make better choices about shopping for durability and quality too.

just trying to enjoy this view responsibly haha
So, to sorta summarize my ideas after this little thought exercise, there are a few things I can personally do to reduce my waste. Just small tweaks or adjustments to my normal day to day horse habit:

- Find alternative ways to store Charlie's pre-measured supplements for barn staff. Ideas or suggestions welcome!! (For reference, whatever I use needs to accommodate a volume of ~1 cup, and I usually mix out ~30 servings at a time).

- Use a bucket and sponge instead of the hose for rinsing the sweat off Charlie after our rides. He's a sweaty foamy lathery dude tho, so I anticipate that we won't exactly go cold turkey on the hose haha. But the key word is "reduce," right?

- Plan ahead for show day needs - esp re: water and snacks. I'm imagining getting some sort of larger water cooler for the trailer, but even a plastic gallon jug of water is better than individual plastic bottles.

- Generally, make more conscientious choices at the point of sale. Is what I want available second hand? Or, if not, is what I'm buying going to last and be durable? Or, if it's a disposable or consumable product (like duck tape or mane detangler or electrolytes), try to make choices with packaging, chemical content, and volume in mind. Like buying in bulk when it makes sense.

What about you? Do you think about stuff like this? Do you have any tips or tricks for more environmentally friendly horse keeping? Like maybe you have a killer homemade fly spray recipe, or have some inspired approach to dealing with all those feed sacks?

I know a lot of you have your own farms too - have you had to make choices about farm management with the environment in mind? Or perhaps you've had to walk that fine line between cost-effective vs eco-friendly?

Or maybe you're sorta like me, and never really thought deeply on this subject before? If that's the case, do you likewise see any wiggle room in your current normal routine for making adjustments to reduce waste?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

time fillers: (not my) nostalgia edition

Alright so I'm pretty bored, yes? Here I was patting myself on the back for scheduling a week vacation for my horse... Only to sit idly by watching the calendar turn day to day, after said horse earned an indefinite continuance to said vacay by stepping on a nail....

"I AM TALLER THAN THIS BUILDING." - charlie, probably
The horse is still pretty sore too. And actually he returned to stall rest to wait out the mud, since the hole in his foot is still open. But he's also bored too, ya know?

"I AM TALLER THAN THIS TREE!" - charlie, definitely
Part of me wishes I could just ask the BM to check in on him and take a night off of the ~50mi round trip. But.... Idk. As much of a pain as it is to get out there for a bandage change and treats and grooming and not much else... Well, tbh I <3 my Charlie time.

feeling antagonized by my laughter lol....
Plus, I feel like homeboy needs some enrichment after being in his stall all day. Like, yes he's still sore on the hoof. But not like, abscess lame. Probably the soreness will recede once that friggin hole closes up.

can't tell if rolling or digging holes literally everywhere
And while yes, he's a good boy, I feel kinda guilty subjecting anybody else to deal with his.... special blends of Charlesass. Case in point: the freezing dramatically every three steps up to the indoor to tower majestically as fuck.

Or. Ahem. Whatever shenanigans he pulled with the farrier to end up with that class-ass broken halter (repaired with a hay string braid by yours truly - it's spring's hottest fashion statement!).

haha too slow with the camera. roll over!! (puns)
But ya know. Maybe at this rate he'll be just coming sound in time for the time change?!? Silver linings, maybe??? We'll see lol.

In the meantime, I'm finding other channels for entertainment. Like, ya know, my fave Youtube channels.

Youtube has a funny way of recommending like 8,000 videos that I have exactly zero interest in watching, ever, but then all of the sudden there's this one like, "ooh but what is that?"

Like this random nearly-decade old video of Joe Fargis just teaching another run of the mill lesson. Ya know. Reminding his students to fix their leads, and to sit up straight. Etc. EXCEPT. Uh, the students are Boyd Martin, Lillian Heard, Ryan Wood, and Caitlin Silliman, among others.

I can't really say what it is about this video that speaks to me. Probably just how like.... normal it is??? My inner lesson junkie just really appreciates that this video exists haha. Tho obvi it's still pretty clear that even at that time, each and every one of these riders are absolute pros...

sometimes i dig watching old helmet cam vids, know what i mean?
And anyway, since I was already falling down the Youtube video rabbit hole, what best channel to tune into other than Doug Payne's? He's been wearing a helmet cam forever, and actually back in the day used to do way more voice over analyses than he does now (tho he's got a new vlog series following his young horse Hannah that's pretty fun).

And they're all just such fun videos to watch. Actually one of his earliest videos was part of what made me really hungry to try eventing as an adult, but I haven't been able to find the video since. I feel like he was somewhere abroad, but it was his second time at that track and he has a moment where he describes "coming to grief" at one combination the year prior..... So uh. If that rings any bells lmk haha.

In the meantime, tho, this Fair Hill 3* video is prettty fun, esp considering he basically was catch riding the horse for his girlfriend at the time, now wife, Jessica. And while watching it, I noticed something kinda familiar.

ah yes. said aqueduct. suuuuuure. looks great haha
Like, ok realistically it's all familiar since I go to the 3* at Fair Hill every year. But this particular jump hasn't been on course since I've been going, and the only time I ever remember seeing it was during that legendary trail ride with my friend's old campaigner Freebee right after Charlie had surgery.

Oh memories... I gotta say tho. It looks WAY DIFFERENT in real life, esp all overgrown and weedy, than it does all nicely manicured and flagged in that helmet cam. It looked.... straight up unreal haha.

Anyway. Yea. That's what I'm up to right now. Watching old videos, reliving old memories, and watching my horse act like a sassy spooky youngster bronto on his short little daily excursions from stall rest. Good times!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Charlie's Magna Wave session!

A local professional horse woman in my area is looking to grow her Magna Wave PEMF business, and offered a Valentine's Day special for new clients at my barn. I've been pretty fascinated by this particular variation of equestrian body work therapy for a long time, so was eager to get on the list.

starting today's post with a pic of a shetland in the snow. bc obvi haha
Unfortunately, I was a little too slow to sign up at that time, and all her spots filled. I showed up anyway tho to observe one of the treatment sessions. Listening to her describe how the therapy works while simultaneously watching the horse react sealed the deal for me: I definitely wanted to get Charlie in on this!

i legitimately never get tired of these ponies
Originally the plan was to have Charlie's appointment the weekend after he got his hocks done. Ya know, part of that whole "pre season retreat" shebang. The appointment had to be rescheduled tho, and then as you know Charlie stepped on a nail anyway.

So my big beautiful plan of making Charlie feel like $8 million dollars as he came back into work was for naught. Oh well.

meanwhile charlie got to spend some quality time in the aisle letting his feet dry
But I was still eager to get on the list for the rescheduled appointment anyway. And I'm glad I did!

Obvi I'm pretty far from being an expert on this particular therapeutic technology, so if you're interested in more specific details you should check out the website (or ask other folks in your network who have tried it).

a special hat for charlie!
From what I understand, this type of treatment is sorta like massage or acupuncture or stretching or chiro or other physical manipulation type approaches, in that you get the most benefits from doing it regularly. In other words, unless you're treating a specific injury or ailment, it's generally not something to be considered "one and done."

he was low key obsessed with the practitioner's kiddos lol <3
The website tells me that the pulsating magnetic field (or PEMF, with the pulses making the clicking sound on the video) is said to produce one main result: stimulating cell metabolism. This leads to three main effects: increased blood circulation, increased blood oxygen content, and calcium influx in the cells.

These effects are said to be as useful in treating specific injuries as they are in promoting general health and wellness in the horse's muscles and joints.

the whole set up, even with all the tubing, is pretty mobile!
The hyperoxygenation and increased circulation of the blood supposedly lasts for a couple hours. Actually, Charlie got his IV shot of Gent right when we began the treatment and we joked that maybe that was an optimal way to get those antibiotics pumping through his system lol.

apparently the different configurations of the magnetic tubes creates different shapes or directions to the pulses
The practitioner said that it's totally safe to ride the horse immediately after treatment - you could go right on out and run cross country if you were so inclined. In her experience, however, treated horses are generally feeling their absolute best about 3-4 days after the session. So most of her clients plan accordingly when using this treatment as part of their competition prep.

like when she crossed the loops over themselves underneath charlie's neck. like a big magnetic hug haha
She also likes to start introducing various stretches and flexions to her client horses over a period of sessions. I guess as you stimulate certain joints (like, for instance, the SI) during treatment, it becomes easier to remind the horses that they can be flexible in those areas?

So in this way, she really likes using it as a holistic approach for the horses. She also claims that regular and repeated use can help reduce the need for more invasive medical interventions, like injections.

over a period of multiple sessions, this practitioner likes to integrate stretches and flexions into the treatment
So lots of big magical claims about this technology. Depending on who you ask, it's an absolute miracle worker. Personally I'm inclined to buy in to some of the hype (obvi haha, since I bought a session). Partly bc a lot of professional riders that I respect have integrated this treatment into their horse care regimens.

Mostly tho? I bought in bc the first horse I observed very clearly fucking loved every single second of the treatment. Like, the machine is on an automatic timer for safety reasons, and when it clicked off he practically stomped his hoof and nearly grabbed the tube with his teeth to be like, "Moar Please!" lol...

there was even this "zoom" attachment that's apparently perfect for hooves
And to be perfectly honest with y'all, I'm 100% the type of owner who will buy a thing for my horse if it makes *me* feel better. So even if all this does for Charlie is give him a 45 minute spa session, the effects of which are completely gone after a couple days..... Well. Idk. I like it when he's happy haha.

If that ends up being the case tho I'm probably not likely to repeat it as regularly as is recommended tho. Bc money haha.

video of charlie's treatment here, complete with some explanations

But if I see improvements in Charlie's overall muscle health, flexibility, and suppleness? Ideally this therapy could be integrated into Charlie's overall wellness plan for the year as a means of hopefully proactively keeping him feeling his best.

All in good time tho, haha, considering homeboy is still lame from the latest nail episode, womp. You'll see in the video tho, we could actually target that hoof with the treatment using a special attachment. Plus apparently this thing is pretty good at zapping abscesses. So fingers crossed there!

Obvi I'll let you know my thoughts more long term, so more to come later. Have any of you tried Magna Wave? I know a lot of you are believers in regular body work like massage and chiro too. Are there other therapies you're dying to try? Or are you kinda skeptical of them, or maybe think they're a mixed bag?

Friday, March 1, 2019

ding another day

This whole equestrian blogging community never ceases to amaze me - bloggers, readers, commenters, all of you. Really truly. Y'all are a special bunch.

charlie practicing his #goatskills during evening enrichment from stall rest
Sharing bits and pieces of my own life so publicly on the internet can be scary sometimes.

Like it's one thing to just post the glamour shots - those special glossy moments where everything knits together into a glittery rose-tinted moment of utter perfection. Or, ahem, well. You know what I mean. Those moments that to *us* are close enough to perfection.

loookie!! only a few holes through the toe of this wrap!! gettin better!
Those good moments are always the easiest to share, right?

The struggles tho? The low moments? The self doubt or mistakes or sadness or uncertainty or fear? It's a lot harder to form those feelings into words and release them out into the wild, into the notoriously cold judgement of the anonymous web.

so much stuff tho. we switched to packing with sugardine and i made wayyyyyy too much. kinda looks like blood, no?
But somehow, for some reason, so many of us are driven to do it. Superficially, I blog for myself and nobody else. I love having this little corner of the web as an archive of my horsey life. It's my encyclopedia, my diary, my book of record, and my photo album. And as such, I try to keep it as honest as possible. For better or worse.

more outdoor enrichment while waiting for the vet!! warm and sunny enough to be out without a blanket too!
Realistically, there's no reason why any "book of record" needs to be public in this way tho. Except, in sharing my story, it's taken on a life of it's own. Participating in this community has given me this whole new channel into the equestrian lifestyle. It's opened my world to trading horsey stories and experiences, and sharing in all the joys and sorrows with everyone else here.

apparently not too lame to keep climbing up that little hill
I'm amazed and inspired and filled with gratitude almost every day of writing this blog and sharing this small little story with you all. And equally amazed and inspired by the stories you all tell too.

I'm not sure what it is - whether it's about horses or whatever - that makes this community so special and unusual among the rest of the social media channels. But your genuine support and encouragement and engagement are like stabilizing forces in my world, especially in those most challenging times. I know that in the most difficult moments, you all will be there. And that means so much.

we interrupt this lame horse update with a pic of playing pups. bc obvi
So I probably don't say it often enough - but I remain extremely grateful for this community. Thank you. Just. For everything.

and uh. wait a sec. about that lame horse. ya know. the one who was waiting for the vet for rads on that RF to see if he chipped off some of the coffin bone?? uh. yea. THIS was how he chose to stand while waiting for the vet. needless to say, the radiograph machine did *not* need to come off the truck haha
I think my favorite thing about reading so many other blogs is just how relatable all your experiences are. We don't all have the same interests or goals or backgrounds or hopes and dreams or resources or whatever. We're not all in the same place or on the same trajectories... But it doesn't really seem to matter, right?

"oops, guess i was actually fine all along. shrug??" - charlie, probably
Bc the horses are still gonna be horses -- still gonna give us that thrilling ride of a lifetime or that unexpected serving of humble pie. Still gonna spook at that thing they've already walked past 8,000 times, or injure themselves in some moment of reckless abandon. And still gonna be exactly what we need after a long day of dealing with all of life's other obligations.

when you are a #bigboy it's easy to steal food over the fence
And in some small but important way, it's reassuring and reaffirming to share in those experiences with you all. Any sort of social media is hard, I think. It's hard not to want to compare myself or cast judgment or whatever, and I think we all deal with that to a certain degree. And I'm sure as shit not claiming perfection in any way over here.

But again. Something about this community makes me want to keep participating.

dis one might not be "big" but he's for sure the most macho resident on farm
And hopefully that will continue to be the case for all of the foreseeable future. Luckily, despite Charlie's latest ding, he seems fully on board with that idea too.

charlie loves the shetlands, even the fabio-esque stallions haha
We did end up getting the vet out bc that persistent lameness really wasn't sitting well. The vet agreed and we talked through options like rads and a distal limb perfusion.

If you're not familiar with that procedure, it's actually really cool: essentially you put a tourniquet on the leg, then pump it full of antibiotics below the tourniquet, leaving it in place for something like 30min. This forces a concentrated dose of antibiotics directly into the injured extremity, vs relying on some systemic treatment in a 1,400lb animal.

he just wants to be friends with everybody
The vet's thought was that: if we were still dealing with acute and extreme lameness this far out from the injury, there was maybe a not insignificant chance that Charlie had either chipped off a fragment at the edge of his coffin bone, or was brewing a bone infection, or both. Infection in particular would only make things worse the longer we waited, so she wanted to get in front of it.

of course, with that kind of hair, who wouldn't want to be friends with this guy??
As is Charlie's way, tho, he appears to have only tiptoed jussssst up to the edge of catastrophe, but not actually gone all the way. After we made the appointment, he came basically sound. And the morning of, as you see in the picture above, he was standing heavily on that hoof while grazing without a care in the world. Phew! Bullet dodged, again.

anyway. back to the vet visit. better living through chemistry. and a whole fuck ton of antibiotics.
Still tho. We opted to go guns blazing with the antibiotics, minus the limb perfusion. He got his tetanus booster plus shots of Gent and Excede, and will have more of each over the coming week. Bc bone infections are not cool, yo.

Other than that, tho? Well? The puncture isn't draining any more - another good sign. So the vet wrapped him up with some sugardine (sugar + betadine, a cool, inexpensive, effective vet-recommended DIY solution!), and we'll continue that until the sugardine I mixed is gone. Then just a dry wrap for another little bit. And meanwhile the big guy is back to normal turnout.

but hey, happy charlie = happy emma!
Not-so-secretly, I'm hoping that this veritable antibiotic-assault on Charlie's system will mean no abscess this time. Maybe? Pretty please??? But I guess we'll see. In the meantime, he gets another week or so of rest. A small price to pay, right?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Episode #867: King of the Dings

Series #3: Fun with Hoof Punctures!!

Episode #2: Nail Impalement Edition....

Subsection #1: Hoo Boy, but He Really Did It This Time.

changin it up with a front hoof this time. at least that poor beleaguered RH finally caught a break!
Ahem. Cough cough. So. Charlie appears to have stepped on another nail.

you may feel like you've already seen enough shitty 'Fraidy Cat Eventing wrap jobs to last a life time
The story, as I understand it, was that the evening feeder on Sunday observed Charlie to be quite fucking lame while casually chillin at the round bale with his best bud Iggy.

Said feeder fully expected to find a rock or something after investigating further, but instead was greeted by a farrier's shoe nail stuck inside Charlie's hoof. Presumably from some other poor horse's lost shoe, considering all of Charlie's nails are accounted for.

too bad, so sad, bc this wrap actually stayed on for a full 24hrs! so obvi it gets its 15min of fame haha
Up to this point, the story doesn't seem so very different from the previous two instances in which Charlie has punctured his hoof (first with a roofing nail during a lesson, and second with a piece of god forsaken mulch during a hack through the pasture lines).

"excuse me i was told there would be cookies" - charlie, probably
Those last two times, Charlie went from being 3-legged lame to more or less normal after the foreign object was removed from his hoof. Sure, he was sore both times. But generally speaking, his degree of soundness post-object-removal was considered a strong sign that any important structures had been missed.

proof!! finally, a wrap i actually had to cut off!! on purpose!!!!
This time we've gotten no such reassurances: The horse remains, as of this writing some days later, very lame. Tho of course just because he's lame doesn't mean that there *is* some degree of damage to some critical structure or whatever. Ya know. It could just mean that his hoof really fucking hurts bc he was hangin out with a nail in it for god knows how long.

tho yea the toe was a bit busted. oh well.
Still, tho. His persistent lameness makes me a little worried. And has changed how we've approached treatment this time around. In past instances he's returned to relatively normal turnout schedules quickly. Not this time, tho. Not until he either comes sound on his own or we can medically rule out something more serious like an injury to the coffin bone.

some seepage thru the toe into the poultice pad
Realistically speaking, the likelihood is that Charlie will be fine. If history is any guide, we can expect an abscess after some indefinite period, but eventually not much else.

arrow is approximately where the puncture would be under this pad. you can see what seems to be drainage
And obviously a small puncture to a horse's hoof pales in comparison to something as gruesome and catastrophic as KC's Pilgrim's recent injury, as one example. Ugh. Talk about horrifying :(

and there it be. the big bad puncture itself.... ugh. 
Still tho. The lameness. It concerns me a little bit. Based on the location of the injury, the vet doesn't think the joint would be involved, and also thinks it unlikely that the nail reached the bursa. If it did injure the coffin bone, there isn't much risk in continuing with stall rest for another day or two before pursuing further diagnostics.

mad pony is foot-stompin mad.
Basically the vet thinks that either the horse's soreness will diminish and the drainage from the puncture will abate shortly. Unless it doesn't, in which case we'll schedule an appointment and probably do x-rays.

gosh his injuries and my tack locker pharmacy take up a lot of space tho....
Charlie, for his part, is not behaving like a sick or critically injured horse. He's annoyed at the stall rest and has been just a touch feisty with the barn staff...

base layer of the new wrap: wet animalintex pad roughly cut to size
He's also impatient with my slow, clumsy and ham-fisted attempts at wrangling his hoof into something resembling a semi-respectable wrap.

vet wrap layer. must remember that it doesn't need to be stretched to 100% tension, emma! 
Since we've got active drainage (vs the last two punctures that sealed up almost immediately), I'm following the same soaking protocol as before (epsom salts + betadine). But now am wrapping with animalintex poultice pads instead of an epsom salt + betadine drawing pack.

probably unnecessary but i still have oodles of elastikon from his surgery, so i did a little layer around the shoe to hold the vet wrap in place
The idea here being: We want to be able to tell at least in some small way whether there continues to be drainage. Since again, at this stage the drainage isn't exactly abnormal. But if it continues for very long it could be indicating something more serious.

lol @ charlie's twinkle toes.... plus one little snip to relieve any excess pressure over the coronet band
We're also keeping an eye out for any spiking temperatures or fevers. In the past it's taken something like ~8 days for an abscess to brew. And probably by this point we would have already seen indications of any sort of acute infection to the injury. But ya know. Gotta stay vigilant, just in case.

then all wrapped up in duck tape, avoiding taping above the vet wrap, and extra coverage at the toe
Charlie, again, certainly isn't acting like a feverish or lethargic horse. He's still a good boy tho. And while I bet he wishes my 3hrs with him involved burning off some of his energy.... Well. He'll take what he can get haha.

i'm always nervous about going over the heel bulbs but am hopefully finding the right balance of coverage vs tension
So idk. I guess we'll see what happens. It's crazy to me that I'm writing this post again. I don't understand why this keeps happening to Charlie. Like. I guess it's not the most uncommon thing in the world to step on a nail from a shoe in turnout. Horses lose shoes all the time, after all. But still... Three times in one year feels ridiculously excessive.

dis how charlie feels about the fact that i'm still a crappy wrapper all these years later....
We've been lucky so far, tho. so here's hoping that lucky streak lasts...