Friday, May 22, 2015

The view from the outside looking in

Remember a few posts back when Dr. Pollard was flexing Snoopy's feet and discovered his front feet were bothering him? 

As treatment, we've been giving Snoopy Previcox (an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever) and monthly Adequan injections for osteoarthritis. He has his days where he starts out stiff and warms out of it, then his days where he's good unless I jog him in a sudden, tight circle right. His lope still feels like an off-kilter washing machine. So I started thinking...

Perhaps it was time to take some x-rays. Not only might we see what's going on, but we would have a baseline for any future changes.

Karma was kind to me, and Dr. Pollard could only come out on the same day as Monte, our farrier. This meant Monte could pull Snoopy's shoes for the photos, then put them back on, or make changes if necessary.

My biggest fear was that we'd take the photos and not see anything. That's more frustrating than seeing something awful.

What did we see? Let me show you a diagram of how a horse's leg is supposed to look:

Snoopy's legs don't look anything like this. His cannon bones (the beige one) tilt slightly in one direction. The two pastern bones (the green and purple) are straight, then the hooves tilt in the other direction. 

As Monte said, "He gets his legs from his mom. They grow in three different directions."

The x-ray on his right leg told the story of what was wrong. Along the outside of the hoof, next to the little point (see the red arrow, but on the opposite side) there was a weird arcing structure pointing up toward the purple bone. Dr. Pollard said that was calcification, which wouldn't account for his soreness UNLESS it was combined with what he showed me on the outside of the top of the green bone - a tiny bone spur pointing toward the brown bone. 

The bone spur was miniscule, but the way his leg winds this-way-and-that, it's like having a teeny pebble in your shoe. It's not going to result in amputation, but it bugs the heck out of you.

Monte and Dr. Pollard discussed his shoeing needs and decided on aluminum bar shoes. More expensive (*sigh* Ka-Ching), but it would fortify his heels and support the sidewalls. 

We gave him a few days off, per the doctor's orders, and today I watched Niki ride him. He landed a lot easier on his front feet, and she said his lope felt better. 

I'm just happy that it's easier for him to move without discomfort. And now we know where to look when anything changes.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Horse shows are fun, aren't they?

Dear Diary, 

I went to a horse show in the moving box. Usually I go with Bubba, but this time, a girl named Gigi rode with me. She was a silly girl, stomping around in the moving box and asking, "Where are we? Where are we?" all the time. I told her we were going to a horse show, but she wasn't sure.

"How do you know?"

Well, I know because the day before, Auntie Niki took the clippers and buzzed them all over my legs and my face. And the next morning, MomToo gave me a really long bath with lots of soap, and scrubbed my head with a rag that I kept trying to grab.

When she put on my show pajamas, I knew where we were going.

I had a good time at the show. First, when we got there, I saw Bubba. He had come in a different moving box. It was nice to be at the show with him.

Next, I got to run around on the longe line. Then Auntie Niki rode me in the warm-up pen. I was very excited to see the arena where the judges were. All of the poles had plants around them, or pretty flowers. I needed to touch them all, and see if the plants tasted good. As Auntie Niki rode me around for the judges, I tried to get my mouth on any of the plants I came close to. I thought it was a fun game. I didn't notice that Auntie Niki wasn't having any fun...

...until she started to spank me. 

I was just reaching for the pretty flowers, when I felt her yank my head back and her legs kicked my belly. That was a DQ, I knew that! I was shocked - Auntie Niki doesn't DQ! We left the arena and she rode me around a little more, making sure she had my attention. 

Then she stopped and MomToo got on. We warmed up and then went to the judges' pen. MomToo had my reins a little short. I think she was worried that I was still interested in the plants. I was, but I had just been spanked. MomToo was very focused and rode me around the course without letting me do anything I wanted to do.

Auntie Niki was still mad at me, but said me and MomToo did really good. The judges gave us a 2 and a 4.

The next day, we just practiced. Practice is okay, but MomToo gets a lot of things wrong and we have to do them over and over. In between practicing, she stood close to my face while I tried to chew her shirt, and Auntie Niki pointed a square thing at us. She calls them "pictures."

Our last day was mostly like the first day, except I didn't try to grab any of the plants. When Auntie Niki and I went in to the judges' pen, I saw the lady with the big clicking box. She was in the bushes. Why was she in the bushes? I couldn't figure it out, so I did the next best thing. I tried to run away with Auntie Niki.

Boy, if she was mad when I grabbed the plants, it was nothing compared to when I tried to run. She spanked me the whole way around the course. Then she had MomToo get on me and ride me around and around and around. Finally we went to the judges' pen.

"Be good, Snoopy," MomToo whispered. "It's just the photographer."

I still wasn't sure about the lady in the bushes, but I had been spanked before, so I just put my head down and did what she said. We went around the course pretty well, I think. The judges gave us another 2 and a 4. 

We ended up being Circuit Champion. Auntie Niki wasn't so mad anymore.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Derby Day

I'm over at Equestrian Ink today, describing the horse show Snoopy and I went to last weekend. (Read it here -

We'll get Snoopy's version of the show later, but today is Kentucky Derby day. 

One of our lesson horses, a quarter horse mare named Sheza Justa Sandman (aka Sandy), is part Thoroughbred, and indirectly related to the Triple Crown. Her grandfather, Damascus, won both the Preakness and the Belmont in 1967, but came in second to Proud Clarion in the Derby. 

Here's a little newsreel about the race.

I think it's interesting how much things change yet remain the same. Racial tensions were running high in 1967. When will we be able to overcome this obstacle to peace?