Friday, August 12, 2022

woodland creatures

Happy Friday, everybody! We are finally getting a break from the heatwave, just in time for the weekend! And even better -- I don't have any major plans keeping me busy either. Yay!

barn cat-mouflage
Not that it makes much of a difference, since of course Charlie is still healing.... It's just gonna take the time it takes, ya know? But maybe we'll get out for some wanderings anyway? We'll see. 

lol be scared, Bess!
In the meantime, I'm getting excited looking into fall, and even winter! Situations being changeable, as always, a new and kinda major opportunity just opened up at our barn, with a very experienced and very credentialed resource suddenly becoming available. 

And said resource turns out to be really eager to share her knowledge and expertise with the rest of us mere mortals, specifically in the form of bi-weekly or monthly in-barn activities!!!!!

i know these are kinda dinky ribbons... but aren't they fun?
We organized the first activity for this past week, an in-house twilight fix-a-test dressage clinic (taking advantage of the dressage court set up from last week's recognized horse trials). 

Obviously I was disappointed to give up my entry after Charlie went through his second high tensile wire fence in as many weeks.... But a major silver lining was that my spot was taken by, omg, Amy and Punky!!! They've been rarer than hen's teeth here on ye olde blogge... and for reasons and stuff... But omg they did a thing and it was good!

ready to rock 'n roll at this fix-a-test clinic!
It was overall a super fun day, too. The forecast was slightly violent, but we managed to get through our schedule before the storms hit. My bootleg (shh don't tell anybody) dressage scoring sheets were easy to use, as was the quick scoring form I whipped up in google sheets. 

Plus we got everybody's cell phone set up right on the judge's table (see photo) to record their test from the judge's perspective, complete with comments and scores in real time. There were special ribbons for "High Score" and "Most Improved," and much fun was had by all!  

meanwhile, in charlieland.....
We'll hopefully get another couple of these types of activities on the schedule, but I'm also trying to brainstorm other formats for when it's dark out and we can't monopolize an entire lighted ring for one horse at a time. 

clearly living his best life, minus the tussles with tensile obvi
This judge also specializes in gymnastics and cavaletti type activities too, so maybe we'll do some sort of group night type thing? Anybody know of any way to game-ify grids or ground pole exercises? A way to sorta get scores and ribbons and stuff, while also focusing on educational outcomes? Hit me up, lol.

SIR! these choices that you are making!! stahhp! 
Charlie, for his part, seems to be feeling better and better. While the leg blew up enormously for a day or two after his most recent incident, it's actually looking quite good. We're still using the schmoo daily, tho it doesn't seem to have as much long-term stick as Swat. I'll compare notes after a few more days.

at least he can't be feeling too too sore!

The horse is happy, tho, and that's what matters haha. He's such a goon -- this particular pasture from the photos is definitely his favorite bc he likes to get allll the way into the stream to find the deepest pools to drink from -- which naturally necessitates scampering and skittering across all those gigantic boulders etc. Not exactly something you'd think he'd be any good at. 

literally a different picture from a different day, sent to me by a barn mate. this goofy horse, i swear
But he seems to love it haha, leaping around like a friggin 1,400lb mountain goat LOL.... 

And I know, I know... letting horses loose into streams is ecologically devastating... Just remember, tho, this ain't my stream, and it's various branches have had decades of loose horses wandering through it on this farm. So we can enjoy Charlie's little slice of cuteness, yes? Yes :)

Anyway. Hope y'all are leaping into the weekend with as much enthusiasm as Charlie! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

the schmoo

Alternate Title:   Oops, he did it again!

the animal himself. and, uh, ahem, cough cough, the sorry state of some of this farm's fencing.... (no it is not hot wire....)
Gosh it's been so boring around here, guys. Poor Charlie is such a baby about all the scabs and whatnot on his hock... Plus it's just been so hot...

every wound goes through an ugly stage during healing. this was quite literally the worst of it, which really wasn't that bad
I figured I'd give him all the downtime he needed to rid himself of the swelling and let the worst of it close up... And then we'd get back in gear this week for a fun little fix-a-test clinic being hosted at our barn this evening!!!!

cute cat interruption bc more gross is coming
Alas, twasn't to be!

well goodness gracious, if it ain't the same leg with new jewelry
left side: those higher marks are new, plus everything was basically rubbed freshly raw
right side: new little fingernail-sized skin flap above existing cannon laceration
I showed up on Monday in my riding pants, determined to swing a leg over for the first time in two weeks (first time since that little jumper show at Elkridge Harford, to be specific....).

somebody was not happy about being all alone in a new field and worked up a major lather running the fence lines....
Only to discover a new note on The Board regarding a recently down fence in Charlie's pasture. Not the pasture of his last incident, mind you (that fence is still down to my knowledge). But the new different pasture his herd group moved into following, ahem, last time.

most of these new marks are just bald spots, tho some on the right side pic (back of his left hock) got a little scabby
Obviously, I knew before I even checked him over that he was involved... And, indeed, there was a collection of new wire marks all over his legs.... Blargh, wtf Charlie. 

cleaned up close up of the new skin flap
At least this time, the barn mgmt knew it was Charlie bc... uh, my sweet dopey gelding managed to get himself through a dividing fence between two pastures --- but none of his friends followed! And then they all went down for breakfast, leaving him as the very last horse in the whole wide world!!

in better news, the summer sore is healing!
Much sadness ensued, obviously, and he told me ALL ABOUT IT by the time I showed up that evening. But, luckily, not much in the way of new wounds. In fact, the barn mgmt didn't really see anything new ("no blood" was the report I got), tho obviously it's kinda impossible to distinguish one bald spot from another unless you study Charlie's legs as obsessively as I do. 

this was a dumb "band-aid" idea, but treating with the moxidectin (Quest Plus) seems to work great even without a bandage!
Really, the only problem was that the leg blew up again, and all those little crisscross hatch marks covering the hock are hot sore and itchy, all at the same time. Poor Charles!

hey, i'm sure everybody has tried this at least once LOL
After evaluating everything and getting him nicely cleaned up, I opted to swing a leg over anyway. Bc... Eh, Charlie's been a bit of a sass monster lately -- boredom, I suppose. Ooooh and also, dear lord he is getting fat tho, wow omg. Like, more than normal.

leg got all swollen and hot again from the new trauma, but vet isn't concerned -- no new drugs
Such a good feeling, too, to be back on my favorite horse! He seemed to enjoy it too, striding right on down the driveway and into the big fields all happy and relaxed and maybe even relieved to get out of his little 2wk rut. 

another cute cat intermission, bc....
It's a tough balancing act knowing when to ride and when not to, tho. Bc.... We all know Charlie can be a stubborn sullen slug at times, and it's really in my best interest to get after it whenever needed. BUT.... If he's legitimately sore, that's not exactly super fair, right?

let's get up close and personal with everything as of 8/9, yes? the laceration is about 2wks old, and the skin flap is about ~1 day old
At least as far as I can tell, he's not actually mechanically lame or anything -- his skin just hurts (sorta like a skinned knee, ya know?). But he's bored enough right now that he's happy to get out to wander and explore (as long as the bugs don't bite too hard!). So we'll keep at it, I guess. 

most of these scabs are 2 weeks old, but a few were roughed up a bit in the latest catastrophe
I shot a text off to my vet about the updated situation anyway, just to be safe -- and to see if there was anything else we could do to control his itchiness. 

the schmoo!! my vet's in-house universal topical concoction, safe for literally everything including the full thickness skin lacerations
She suggested I pick up a tub of their in-house "schmoo" -- a cream they developed for skin funk around the feet, etc, that's also safe and effective for wounds. Basically a universal "cover all."

charlie liked how it smelled, mikey actually tried to lick it off my fingers LOL
apparently contains ingredients like desitin, hydrocortisone, chlorhexidine, etc
I've been slathering Swat on everything to keep the flies off, and honestly that's been fine -- and seems to facilitate the healing process. But... Idk if it's doing anything for the itchiness. 

So we'll give the schmoo a try these next few days and will compare notes. The summer sore is still getting its Moxidectin treatment bc that seems to really stick in place with just a pearl-sized squirt of the stuff, so I'll leave well-enough alone there. 

and omg, saddled too!! <3 <3 <3
And I guess I'll keep going on quick little hacks too. Might as well, the pony seems to enjoy the added attention and expansion of his daily world lol. Tho we did scratch the fix-a-test, bc, again, I'm not gonna get after him for being protective of that sore leg right now. 

just walkies with friends to get the swelling down... but damn i love this view!
So ya know. It's hot and buggy out. The horse keeps tying himself up in tensile wire fence. And there isn't really a whole heckuva a lot else goin on. 

In a way, tho, it's good enough. And maybe it'll be a little cooler by the time the horse is more healed up??? 

Monday, August 1, 2022

update on the dingdom

So I work in data analysis by profession, currently for a consulting company. Basically by definition, this means I spend a lot of time making quick decisions about small details that I *may or may not* remember 6 months down the road.

for shits and giggles, i took a random unplanned (not staged) photo of my medicine drawer exactly as it is right now. anyone else wanna play and add your own shot? recognize anything here --- does my drawer look like yours??? what's missing??? (besides the bute and the swat which were otherwise occupied lol)
Which could explain why I'm such an obsessive documentarian lol. Tho... I'd argue... Maybe being such an obsessive documentarian is what drew me to that line of work in the first place? Who knows... 

not a great photo of swelling but day 2 is full on pitting edema. look for the *lack* of definition around the tendons. i described it for our latest barn rat as kinda the texture of hot applesauce...
Long story short, I'm a big fan of documenting the details, to better remember them down the line. Ya know, if any questions arise, right? Particularly details we might not even notice in the moment, or realize could have future implications.

maybe a better shot for showing swelling and texture?
So bear with me while I capture said details here LOL. To play catch up: my horse went through a high tensile wire fence sometime in the early morning on Thursday. I found him in his stall later that morning all cut up, raw and swelling.

swat + pray on the way to turnout, amirite?
The vet confirmed that Charlie escaped any major injury, but prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics all the same. Which.... I mean. I'm trigger happy about antibiotics. I admit that. I know a lot of people feel differently... but... ya know. Racehorses get a shit ton of drugs on the track, and Charlie raced until he was 7. As far as I'm concerned, his blood type is SMZs.

day 3: ooh oooh got to use my ice boots again -- perfect for this sorta thing!
So. We dose, and we dose hard. And I know in my last post I hinted toward some shortcomings of boarding where Charlie lives... So. Let's set the record straight, yes? Full story: the day to day care from paid staff is inconsistent and unreliable. BUT. The level of experience, ability, and professionalism among boarders is legit CLASS. 

well. almost perfect LOL
So... Charlie is getting what he needs from day to day --- including his Gentamicin, a heavy duty systemic antibiotic that can go IM or IV, but at 33cc per dose (not even mentioning the pitting edema again), would very much prefer to go IV.... Yea, nbd. My barn mates have it buttoned up. 

So ya know. If we do eventually go to a proper "co-op" model, we 100% have the in-house skill to ensure everybody can get what they need.

day 3 swelling was wayyyy down.
honestly dunno how much better you could want wounds like this to look!
Anyway, Day 3 Charlie had what looked like pretty excellent legs. There is still fill, still some swelling, but not at all the whole "up and down hot fatness" that sparks cellulitis fears in all our hearts. The tendons had definition, the leg was realistically warm but not scary to touch... Ya know. Normal healing stuff. It looked good. 

still gonna play it safe tho... except ugh, peep that weepage trail from the other leg... bleh
And Day 4 was more of the same. In a way, it's interesting to have a non-healing wound on the other hind leg (Charlie's "summer sore") as a comparison against the transformations from his wire cuts. The lacerations are all scabbing and tightening, while that summer sore just keeps weeping and weeping.

day 4 -- looking somehow pretty freakin GREAT! esp compared to that gd summer sore wtf???
(also... peep that gloved hand holding charles' death apparatus still while takin pics from hyper vulnerable places...) 
Charlie will finish his treatment with another big hit of antibiotics -- the last dose of Excede IM on both sides of his neck -- this week, and probably we'll stop wrapping while he's stalled daytime soon. I haven't even jogged the horse to see if he ever went properly lame... But we'll do that this week too. Fingers crossed all goes well!

speakin of which... this level of drainage (from a surface wound) is generally.... not a good sign
The other interesting side quest from this whole "Went Through a Wire Fence" saga is... Charlie's "summer sore." 

I knew this wound was behaving weirdly, but didn't really understand what was going on. Again to catch up: it was a normal superficial wound that just sorta..... went wild. It swelled, first locally, then the whole leg. It weeps, it crusts, it doesn't want to heal. My vet noticed it while treating Charlie's wire-fence-lacerations and immediately diagnosed it as the above (srsly I keep linking this article bc it's useful).

vet pointed out that the increasingly "circular" nature of this wound, combined with drainage, indicates classic "summer sore" characteristics. right side treated with Quest Plus (moxidectin) dewormer
At this point, it's less of a "wound" and more of a classic lesion or ulcer. I finally was able to worm Charlie again yesterday orally with moxidectin, and started topical treatment with the same. Hopefully this is an uncomplicated story from start to finish lol..... But I'll keep you posted, obviously.

sir. you are so needy.
So we shall see. The horse seems perfectly happy, and I'm honestly starting to wonder if resolving that summer sore will also help resolve some of the horse's itchiness? He's also been on a double dose of hydroxyzine for a few days now and my unscientific brain feels like maybe there's a difference? 

Idk. We'll see. I'm definitely planning to ride the thing probably at some point next week assuming all the wounds continue behaving lol. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

king of the dings + his antihistamines

Horse ownership really is wild, I swear. My company had our first in-person retreat since the before times this week, meaning I was away from Charlie for 3 whole days.

let's start a gross post with an absolutely adorable photo tho <3 <3 
In an ideal world, I avoid missing more than 2 days in a row.... For a few reasons if we're being honest. Mostly bc I adore my horse and his company, obviously. 

But also... Charlie's farm operates a bit like a co-op masquerading as full-care, with a large decentralized staff composed of both boarders (with varying degrees of experience) working off their board; and an aging weekday staff who have been there forever but don't actually have any personal horses on the farm. 

and more cute --- manager mikey keepin an eye on us! 
Obviously everyone who works there does it bc they love horses. But ya know, sometimes stuff gets missed. Unfortunately, Charlie drew the short straw this week. 

I got home from the work trip around 2am, then woke up early to sneak out to the barn asap the next morning and see my poor neglected creature, who would surely feel abandoned and forlorn! 

and #short video of charlie keepin an eye on michael too

And predictably.... Yea. Homeboy was crusted in days-old sweat and grime, depressed looking, and itchy as all hell. Which, ahem, was probably directly related to his mangled and raw RH leg, that had very clearly gone a few rounds with high tensile wire fencing.... :(

seriously tho, guys, last chance for cute before it gets... not cute
And ya know. Stuff like this bothers me. I hate seeing my horse in pain... He also obviously did not do this in his stall. And yet, there he was, in his stall, having already been brought in for breakfast that morning from his overnight turn out. 

ta da! welcome home, emma!
Did somebody see it but not think it merited attention? Maybe! Or maybe they didn't see it? I dunno. Some of the folks at this farm are pretty old school, they've seen literally everything. So maybe they figured this was a bit like a skinned knee -- ouchy and ugly, but ultimately inconsequential?

ugh poor charlie, fully lacerated the tissue over his cannon :( also peep that persistent non healing wound on his other limb bleh
Which... Idk. I tend to err on the side of overcommunication about the various dings and dents our horses collect -- serious or otherwise. Plus, for better or worse I often medicate liberally. Like, in this scenario with swelling and open wounds around a joint, it'd take heavy convincing for me to NOT start antibiotics. So, in my "ideal world," wounds like this should be observed and communicated. YMMV.

mmm lovely. vet evaluated by testing if the skin would pull apart or flap, which it did not, whew!
It was moot anyway, tho, since I showed up when I did. Plus none of the lacerations looked particularly nasty except the one on the cannon. Tho it also didn't necessarily look fresh enough for stitches? I pulled the horse out to cold hose and investigate, and shot off a photo to my (extremely practical) vet in case she wanted a looksie.

vet was most concerned about the depth of lacerations over the hock joint 
She agreed that it didn't look too serious, just ugly, but she did want to take a closer look specifically at the wound depth around Charlie's hock. Considering, ya know.... Joint infections can be life-altering injuries, why risk it? Plus she was already in the neighborhood anyway, nbd.

poor charlie, you're not supposed to have "fat rolls" on your hock :(
So I got to fuss and fawn over Charlie, chiseling him out of his grimy crust and stuffing him full of cookies etc, while we waited for the vet. Then it was a pleasantly brief visit -- he basked in his sedation while she scrubbed everything up and evaluated. And luckily the vet quickly confirmed that everything is superficial except for that cannon wound.

cleaned it out and wrapped it up to help control the expected swelling
Tho she expects that to heal up just fine, too, since the skin didn't seem particularly flappy or like it wanted to pull apart or separate. 

I personally am paranoid about it, having seen other folks in blogland really really struggle with healing big cannon lacerations.... So we'll wrap while he's stalled during the day, unwrap for normal overnight turnout, and see how it goes.

i swear this horse takes FOREVER to wake up from sedation
We'll see. The vet also shot him up with some systemic antibiotics -- Gent and Excede -- to be continued for a few days. It's probably overkill given I already had a full bottle of SMZs lol... 

But, eh, the dosage is simpler and shorter, and I can do it all myself vs relying on barn staff to correctly administer a 2wk course of SMZs twice daily... Plus, my vet is out of town the next couple of days, and figured it'd be safer to treat proactively vs risk having Charlie blow up when she's not around.

unrelated random wound on other leg that's done a shockingly poor job of healing --- vet advised that i begin treating as if it's a 'summer sore'
She also noticed another little wound on his other hind .... A funny little superficial wound that should have healed just fine, but instead swelled wildly then exploded a week later (pics above). Obvi I've been gone a few days so I wasn't surprised to see it looking... still kinda iffy. 

predictable that this hothouse flower couldn't endure 3 days of my absence without literally crawling out of his skin and imploding....
She said the wound's circular shape could suggest it's becoming a summer sore. In other words, it might be contaminated by fly or parasite eggs, which can cause persistent non-healing lesions that are susceptible to infection and drive their hosts mad. 

we need to teach mikey how to be a better groom lol
She recommended treating with Quest, even tho Charlie's up to date on his dewormer. One tube as a standard oral dose, and a second to be used topically on the wound itself. So yea... If you're wondering whether my locker looks like a pharmacy rn, the answer is yes lol.

in the meantime, new study material arrived omg!!! i know the text here is small but lmk if you are intensely curious about any of the specific rider exercises listed!
Oooh the vet left one last little goodie, too -- a tub of hydroxyzine powder. You might remember reading about Charlie being an itchy SOB before... And we always suspected that his apocalyptical bat-cave of a puncture wound back in 2019 was caused by sticking his leg through a fence while itching his you-know-what. 
one more of mikey as an apology for all the raw nasties before
So we're at TWO close call injuries from itching on fences... And I'm over it! Generic Zyrtec (cetirizine) pills have been my go to since the puncture, but results are mixed. 

My vet reminded me that allergy meds work better as prevention vs cure, so we'll switch a daily dose of hydroxyzine to see if that works better. Bc damn... it's way cheaper than these vet bills! 

back out with some of his buddies, relegated to a paddock bc, ahem, he wrecked the friggin pasture fence....
Wish me luck, lol. Anybody else out there ever have to deal with gruesome wire tangle injuries or cannon lacerations? Or summer sores? Or.... a miserably itchy horse bound and determined to literally rip the flesh from his own bones to free him from the madness...???