Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adding a pony to the herd

Lots of things have been going on around here this summer, despite my lack of posts.  The first exciting thing is that we got a pony for my daughter!  His name is Jake, and he is 25 years old.  He has actually been in the family since he was 7 years old, but the last few years he was living with the neighbor's grandkids.  Now they've outgrown him and he has come back to us to be our pony!  It is kind of a sweet story.  Of course, my daughter loves brushing long hair, so they have a great relationship.  And the pony prefers kids to adults...probably because kids give him treats all the time and don't make him mind.  He's a great pony for my daughter to learn to sit a horse.  His only downside is that he absolutely cannot have grass.  He has foundered really badly multiple times in the past before anyone really understood how to manage him.  Now he is doing well, is a good weight (maybe even a little thin, though he still has fat pads from his previous metabolic syndrome life).  His feet are very tender on rocks and hard ground, but he is fine in sand and grass.  When we ride him through the woods (daughter on him, and I lead him...he is primarily a lead line pony), we put boots on his feet.  He has to be isolated from the herd, however, since he cannot be on pasture.  We brought him home in June and right now, he is living in our old mustang pens, but in a month or two he will move closer to our yard.


The other big news is that we are finally putting in a barn!  A real barn!  With stalls and all!  It will also serve as a garage for our trucks (my vet truck too, which doesn't fit in our house garage).  We just broke ground last weekend, as the builder couldn't start until August.  There will be 4 stalls, a heated room for water and a sink, a tack room, a garden tool room, and then room for 2 trucks.  The back side will have a 3 sided shelter area for the horses to hang during the day.  I don't anticipate stalling any horses, but it will be convenient for feeding minerals and such and also during foaling time next spring.

Also, Stormy has been with my neighbor for some refining training for the last couple weeks.  During this time, we have determined something which I've suspected for a while, but never had someone else around to help me out with...Stormy has some strange minor lameness that is not really apparent on the trail.  It is primarily apparent when circling her to the left.  I believe it is her left hind leg and I need to do some further work up to figure out where exactly.  I don't think it is something that is's always been there.  I would like to same maybe it is some sort of mechanical lameness (or perhaps lack of muscling), but I suspect she has some pain somewhere.  I feel like my horses are always the last ones to get looked at for lameness issues. 

My 3 year old took these pictures without me knowing...

Chico is also quite lame right is the same lameness in his left hind leg (not the one that got the big cut - that leg is just fine) that I noticed for the first time a few years ago.  It's getting worse.  At this point, if I ride him even just a short ways around the property, then let him stand for a few minutes tied, he stiffens up and can hardly put any weight at all on that left hind leg.  And all that after being absolutely fine during the ride.  The lameness only shows after he's been rested after a ride (or chased around the pasture trying to catch him to put his grazing muzzle back on).  And if I keep walking him, he will warm back up out of that lameness to where it might still be there, but not nearly as severe.  And I am starting to be able to see it when he trots in the pasture.  When he's at pasture, it is very minor and hard to see, but there.  I had him down to the vet school a year ago for it, but he wasn't lame enough at the time to isolate it to a region of his left hind leg.  I'm just not sure right now and I need extra hands to help to actually figure out where it is...which I dont' usually have when I'm working with my horses.

At least Stormy's lameness doesn't get worse with work, that we've seen yet.  And it is imperceptible on a straight line, so she does just fine on the trail.

And speaking of lame horses, I have a new big project that I've brought home, but that is a post for next time!

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