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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden horses and outlaws.

Foxsun seems to be improving still. I saw him trotting a little bit the other day as he was making his way back to the corrals. He saw the cows were in and wanted to go into the corrals so he could visit over the fence with his old cow wife. Dandylyons hung around after the herd left to be with him for awhile and when she left I brought him back here. Sometimes he forgets there is a tub of water here and out of habit heads to the corrals when he's thirsty which sends Echo into a frenzy because he thinks he's a rouge stallion coming to fight. Echo snorts out warnings and pretty much becomes unglued when he sees Foxsun walking towards him.

Foxsun still likes to hang around the garden and graze on a variety of different grasses. He can eat alfalfa if he wants but doesn't seem to want it. He's also refusing his senior ration but loves the Big-R Sweet Cob. Everyday I squirt five doses of meds and the supplement Red Cell in his mouth with an old worming syringe. Instead of becoming more head shy about it he's become so good I don't put a halter on him to do it.

Here he is in the garden yesterday.

He's a really good garden horse because he doesn't eat the flowers or shrubs. He's careful where he walks and respects the flower beds but he does like to rub his back on the larger shrubs.

I wonder what the UPS man thought when he saw him? I suppose he was just glad not to get barked at or chased.

In my determination to touch Echo I came up with a very clever plan that turned out to be another flop. I thought I would wear him down, then when he was subdued, I'd touch him with my latest invention which I aptly named 'the long arm of the law'.

There was a couple of flaws in my plan. I think the biggest flaw was that a 55 year old well fed out of shape woman who has an artificial ankle joint and a disease of the joints and muscles is not going to wear down a very healthy three year old wild mustang. I did make him sweat a bit though. Another flaw in my plan was the fact that he's not going to get touched when he has room to flee.

Here is 'the long arm of the law' trying to bribe Echo.

It's a 6 foot pole with a stuffed glove on the end of it. He snorted at it and refused the carrot.

When Brad came home I showed him my invention and demonstrated how Echo evades the law. Brad thought it was funny but was impressed how Echo does his circles now. He trots nicely and changes directions when instructed to. Then Echo showed off by putting his nose on the glove when I told him to 'step up'. Brad agreed that the only way we can get a halter on him is to squash him with the wing gate like we did before. Now Echo likes Brad he can play a more active role.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Foxsun is eating like a horse.

Foxsun is looking remarkably well. When I was with him 2am Saturday morning I was worried he wouldn't make it through the weekend. Even the vet thought he was acting and looking like a goner.

He's been getting his meds in the morning, followed by some sweet grain because he refuses to eat his senior ration, then he's turned loose for most of the day. Today I bought him the Red Cell the vet recommended. I may squirt it in his mouth because I don't want to chance him refusing to eat his grain. He trotted out of the gate with Brad leading him this morning! Although he did cough a bit which I'll have to talk to the vet about.

Saturday he spent most of the day resting under shade trees. Sunday he spent most of the time grazing in the meadow. Today he stayed close to the house like a big garden gnome.

He is so skinny and his winter coat is still slowly coming out.

He wandered into an an area full of new plantings. He walks carefully between the little yellow flags marking the tiny trees. This is a tiny Japaneses maple.

This whole area smells so lovely because of the chokecherry, lilac and honeysuckle blossoms.

He could have gone into the meadow and ate tall orchard grass and alfalfa but today he seemed to prefer the lawn grass. He took naps under the apple tree.

I think he wants to know why we didn't do this years ago.

He's very alert and tonight was nickering for his evening grain. The combination of bute and antibiotics have really made a difference. I also think that getting him out of the lonely horse corrals and closer to us really boosted his spirits. It's really fun to have him right outside the house. He got a million cuddles and kisses today.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The vet said his prognoses is poor.

Well it seems there is nothing in the pasture making Foxsun sick.

Foxsun really looked like he was improving once I shut the gate to the pasture. He seemed to be gaining weight and was very alert. Last week he started going down hill. The phenylbutazone paste (an anti-inflammatory) was making him feel better and giving him a better appetite. I started him on it myself and wasn't giving it to him often enough because I was under the impression, for some reason, it was bad for long long term use. I noticed swelling around his sheaf and girth area and I thought it was the pigeon fever back again and for that you can only wait till the abscesses are ready to be drained.

This is a photo of the swelling looking between his forelegs. It looked like a pigeon fever abscess at first but later didn't feel and progress like one.

Vets say you shouldn't give antibiotics before the abscesses rupture because that could drive the infection internally, which is harder to treat and can be fatal. I cleaned his sheaf to see if that helped with the swelling and then decided to wait and see for a day or two. Thursday I decided the swelling didn't feel like pigeon fever and must be something else. We decided to take Foxsun back to the vets Saturday morning. Friday we were out of town till late, and when I went to give Foxsun his evening feed I was met with a very sad sight. He was very depressed and hadn't touched the feed I gave him that morning. His senior ration was still in a perfect pile in his bowl. I was concerned he couldn't even get in his horse trailer to go to the vets so at 2am I gave him two grams of bute which made him feel a bit better the next morning.

Before loading him I pushed some baby carrots in his mouth and he ate them. Encouraged I then picked some fresh grass and alfalfa which got his juices flowing enough he tried to nibble some of his senior ration.

The vet was very worried about him. He gave him the once over and told me the swelling was edema and listed the things that could cause it...none of them good. I asked him what he would do and he suggested drawing his blood and running some tests. Hearing that Foxsun decided that would be a good time do pull his 'dying horse routine'. His head went down to the ground and the vet said he looked like he was 'checking out' and listed all the things that Foxsun was doing that indicated he was on his very last legs. Some of the dying horse signs that I remembered the vet pointing out were pinched nose labored breathing and shaky legs. Foxsun had it all down to a T. I pulled Foxsun's head up and told him to knock it off which he did because he's a very obedient horse. The vet drew his blood as I tried to explain that Foxsun always over reacts to the slightest illness or discomfort. I was in denial but when the vet took the test tubes into his lab Foxsun cheerfully snacked on baby carrots. The vet came out and busted him with his mouth full of carrots. When I took Fox back out to his little horsemobile he looked around taking in the sites and sounds as alert as a two year old race horse, almost.

Back in his office the vet said judging by his massive weight loss and everything he'd seen, he said without seeing the blood work, he thought (when I pressed him) his prognoses was poor and he'd call me later with the lab results. He was worried about liver damage and other scary things. He gave us an antibiotic and a big tub of powered bute to take home. It seems that the discomfort that Foxsun was in was preventing him from eating and he needs more phenylbutazone, 1 to 2 gms every 12 to 24 hours. I was giving him 1 to 2 gms every 24 hours and skipping a day if he seemed OK. I also believe it was also psychological in part due to the fact he was separated form his old cow wife and everyone else.

Once home we gave him his meds and the key to the farm. As I led him out of the horse pasture I could feel him getting excited in his own way as he plodded along. I took him off his lead rope and told him to go where he wanted to.

At first he didn't show any interest in grazing but thought he try a little nibble for old times sake.

I took off his halter and declared him a free horse to roam where he pleased. He thought after a lite snack he'd try his hoof at being a 'shade tree tester'.

Here he is testing the shade under big poplar near our house. He decided the shade was too narrow.

Then he remembered when as a toddler William would sometimes play with his pasture gate leaving it open and how much he enjoyed having a walk about and snoozing under the old apple tree.

There was an electric wire that wasn't hot, left over from when the meadow was pastured last fall. The deer have torn it down in most places. In this spot it's still up preventing him from enjoying the full shade of the tree. You can clearly see his swollen belly hanging down.

After he had a nap near the apple tree he ate for awhile along a ditch bank and ended his day fast asleep in the shade of the big cottonwoods.

The vet called and told me the results of the blood work. I was a hospital lab tech years ago and even drew and ran one of my own horse's blood when he was ill, but I didn't hear most of what the vet told me because all I wanted to know was 'is my horse dying'? I remember he said the prognoses is not as bleak, his white count is up and his red count down. The doc says Foxsun is anemic and his body maybe trying to wall of an infection. So the antibiotics are needed. He suggested I buy a product called Red Cell and needs the B vitamins. I asked him to send me the lab results. I probably will think of some questions by Tuesday. The main thing is to keep him comfortable and happy so he eats and puts weight back on.

This morning I felt the edema in his girth area and I'm please to report it's almost gone. The swelling further back is still there, but not as bad as it was. He wanted me to itch his belly and shoved me to make me do it. A very good sign. He's still a free roaming guy (days only) and if it wasn't for the fact he spends most of the time sleeping, I'd be worried about founder. He won't eat his senior ration with the meds in it so I have to make them into a paste and syringe them into his mouth.

You can see how much weight he's lost from his normally sturdy Morgan frame.

I just love his lovely old face.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It looks like Foxsun is on the mend.

This morning, instead of standing in the corner of his little house, Foxsun came out to see me as soon as he heard my jeep drive up. It was so nice to see him with his head hanging over the fence waiting for me.

We have come to the conclusion that the pasture made him ill. Brad was the first one to come up with that idea, I was hung up on first the Pigeon fever he had last year and then thinking that it was his little tiny top nippers preventing him from grazing.

Brad reminded me he's been sore and stiff before in the Spring after he's been in the horse pasture a short while. In the past I have given him a dose of anti-inflammatory paste but this is the first time he's dropped such a huge amount of weight. Also in the past it was very mild and only needed one dose of medication.

The pasture is not by any means 'lush'. In fact the pickings are rather slim. He has never shown the leaning back on his hind feet to take the weight off his forelegs laminitis stance that is the stuff horse lovers nightmares are made of, but he will look like he hurts all over, especially his feet. Butepaste (phenylbutazone) really helps him feel better.

The last few days have been very stressful for me. I haven't been able to focus on anything but Foxsun. I have been doing lots of research into things like; the side effects of wormers, sand ingestion, grass fever, founder, toxic plants and insects. I have collected beetles to bring home and study. None of them were the dreaded Blister beetle. Something in that pasture makes him very ill. I think that because the horse pasture hasn't been grazed much for a long time that the offending plants were able to re-seed and spread. The reason he ate the old dirty hay in the manager was because he was in too much pain to go out and graze and that was why he lost so much weight.

From the house I can only see part of the pasture. When he was going hungry in his house I assumed he was out of sight by the trees grazing. It is weird how the weight came off so quick because he's always been an over weight easy keeper.

He's locked in the horse corrals now and will remain there till he's put on some weight.

Here he is enjoying an 'all you can eat' smorgasbord. He has grass hay, alfalfa hay, freshly picked dandelions for potassium, magnesium, calcium, electrolytes, a bowl of senior horse and some sweet feed. He's a slow eater and will often fall asleep during a meal so I don't worry he will gobble it all up once.

This green grass suddenly turns red.

Greener grass is there but he has to look for it.

Here's some larkspur it's toxic but I don't think he eats it, besides the other pastures have it all over and he's OK when he's there.

Here one of his pasture pals dens; The yellow bellied marmot or as they are called in these parts, rock chucks.

You always know which was the wind is blowing because of where Foxsun is standing up against this feeder.

I'm so much looking forward to riding him again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good horse - bad horse.

The Bad Horse.

Wildairo's trim with the farrier was a complete bust. Even under sedation he fought back. The farrier managed to trim one hoof but Wildairo would not let him trim his front right. We didn't even get to the backs. Looking back at the photos I took, I see the farrier did manage to pick up the front right but Wildairo would run backwards before he could trim it. We tried different things but had to call it off.

Here's Wildairo waiting for the sedative to work.

Eating some grain while he gets happy.

He launched a preemptive strike at the farrier as soon as he showed up and got a direct hit. The farrier tried everything to get him to cooperate and was more than patient. He went above and beyond the call of duty. If they had a 'farrier of the year' award, that man should get it.

Remember Wildairo is sedated in the above pictures! When we finally gave up I shook his head for a bit of comic relief to make his loose lips flap about. The farrier remarked that when a horse is that drunk you should be able to anything with him like float his teeth, oh and maybe trim his hooves. Not Wildairo, he'll never be taken alive....wait, he already was.

I told the farrier and Brad he was going back to the BLM. I was really really mad at the time. I have a horse that has a chance at a pretty good life, no work, lots of acres, and even a friend from his old wild herd to play with. But no he won't pick his stinking feet up! Crikey, we even got him high!!!!

The bastard is walking about on one little hoof and three great big ones. If I lived closer to the BLM corrals I drop him of in the middle of the not really (I'm joking). I'd take him there so he could go in their mustang sandwich maker. It's how they trim their feet. They put them in a padded chute (table) tilt it over and trim their feet while they lay there on their side, complaining probably. If I was was rich I'd buy one. I used to think it was an awful way to trim a horses hooves but the way I feel now about Wildairo I'd put him in there just to see him squirm! lol.

The Good Horse.

We had it wrong; it is not Foxsun's short front nippers that's making him skinny and I have the photo's to prove it.

When we took him to the vets on Saturday he was walking fine because he was still feeling the positive affects of the phenylzone paste I'd given him the day before. Sunday it was a different story. He was in great pain and didn't want to leave his little horse house.

He was walking very slowly and stiffly. I went home to get the phenylzone and when I returned with it in my hand he took one look and bolted for the open gate and the pasture beyond. When I say bolted I mean he walked like a sloth, picking up his legs slowly and putting them down carefully with his ears perked forward to freedom beyond. I was right behind pretty much doing the same thing. I shouted "Foxsun" and he stopped because he knew the jig was up. He's never been hard to catch. To be honest I can't think of one thing he's done that's bad, beside eating that wildflower as I was trying to take a picture of it.

A few hours after he got the medicine he was feeling a lot better and went out into the pasture to use his ancient sun bleached poo place. We went out to visit with him and to our surprise he put his head down and started eating the very short brown grass stuff. He was using the side of his mouth and was eating just fine!

Well if he can eat that short stuff he'll have no trouble with the rest of it.

The vet is sending us some more phenylzone paste. He said Foxsun has no indications of an infection. So the reason for his huge weight loss is still a mystery for now. He's eating very good. I considered leading his old cow wife over to make him happy but then I remembered that she eats him out of house and home.

Here's a cell phone picture of his very skinny back.

You can see he's very thin. We are going to make sure he has the right food and control his pain. If he doesn't improve then we'll do some blood work on his including a white count.

So there you have it; this weeks Sunday adventure. One very bad horse who felt very good and one very good horse who felt very bad.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Foxsun went down hill.

Monday when the farrier trimmed Foxsun's hooves and he didn't look too bad as far as the weight loss goes. I thought he'd start to gain weight once he was back in the horse pasture.

All week he was looking worse. By Friday I was very worried because he was loosing more weight and would not leave his little horse house. He even pooped and peed in there, something he has never done before. I got him too move a little bit and he was stiff and slow. I decided it was time he saw the doctor.

As I was thinking about what I was going to tell the vet when I called, I solved the mystery myself.

First clue; I noticed that all the hay in the manger from last fall had all been eaten, even though it was old and dusty. (Some marmots who live in under the barn had pooped on it too. I really was going to clean it all up this weekend). I thought why would he eat that nasty old hay when all that pasture is out there?

Second clue; I thought about when his weight loss began. Late Summer right before his Pigeon Fever he started loosing weight yet over Winter he was fine. He began loosing weight when he was weaned off the hay and Senior horse feed and put on pasture. There's lots to eat in the pasture so why is he loosing weight?

Third clue;


His nippers are useless for cropping short grass! The grass out there is about 4"-5".

I made him a bowl of senior horse feed and threw in ( from my pantry) a little oat bran, flax seed, Quaker oats and about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I got one of those big white kitchen garbage sacks and went out and pulled up a lot of long grass, dandelions, and some alfalfa. I also got him some of the alfalfa hay. We had ourselves a feast. He looked so funny with his head all the way inside that garbage sack. It came up over his ears and I asked him if he was committing suicide.

I can't understand why he's stiff and reluctant to move but I gave him a dose of phenylzone paste. That evening I went to see him with Brad. He was still holed up in his house so I put a halter on him and gently got him out. I took him to his water and he drank a lot. I think moving helped him and by that time the phenylzone had kicked in and he was starting to feel better.

Just as it got dark I went out to check him and he was under the trees grazing.

This morning it was off to the vets.

He looks fatter in these pictures than he is.


He's been in here before and there's always a little pain involved. Look at his scared face.

His vet checked him out. Took his temperature, listened to his inner workings and all that. When the vet saw his nippers he accused my boy of being a cribber! I defended the old fellow but I had to agree he'd been wearing his nippers out on something.

Anyway, the reason for his weight loss is he cannot crop short grass and he's starving without the hay and senior feed he ate all Winter. We're going to give him hay and oats. The vet did not recommend beet pulp at all. Once he's in the irrigated meadow the grass should be long enough for him to eat it. If he continues to loose weight we will do some blood work because it may be a walled off abscess resulting from the pigeon fever.

That was Foxsun's big adventure. The last time he was hauled anywhere it was to the vets 4 1/2 years ago when he injured himself.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wildairo is horrid.

Yesterday the wind blew very hard and Wildairo was galloping around and going crazy for most of the day. I knew I was in for trouble even though the wind had died down that evening.

Wildairo would not let me put his halter on so we could get him sedated for the farrier. I put him in to the little pen to try again, but no luck. He was acting very out of character by appearing uninterested in us and hanging his head over the gate the other side of the pen and ignoring us. When I tried to put the halter on he would toss his head up.

The idea is to give him the sedative when he's calm and let him remain calm for at least 15 minutes for it to work, otherwise he will blow right through it like he did before. We called the farrier and postponed it. We will try again over the weekend. Right now he continues to be just horrid. He comes up to see me and soon as he sees the halter he takes off. I'm super mad at him and it's a real challenge for me to speak to him in a nice voice because I want to murder him. Coming to think of it he listens better when I get mad at him.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cats and Turncoats.

These pictures were taken Monday morning before the rain started. I took a walk in the garden in my jammies and the cats, who are always in their jim-jams ready for a quick nap, followed me about.

Here's Maxwell.

Maxwell is a Manx. He's doing very well after his operation. He's really changed. He's become playful, and has even tried his hand at hunting and wild horse wrangling. Right after his operation he struck out on his own to live off the land and become his own man. He was gone for four nights. He returned hungry and a changed cat. He ate almost two cans of cat food and slept off his adventure for a few days. Here's his surgical incision that's healing nice.

Here's old Andy. He has a bad eye after from a fight with the stray tomcat who's terrorizing everyone.

Here's Andy, Max and Muffin.

Here's Patches.

Tommy Two Tone has to watch from the window because he's too little and fool hardy to go outside yet. He has a giant paw.

The stinky stray Tomcat has been hanging around since last summer. He sprays everything and makes it stink. He's turned our cats lives into a living hell so Bobby is under strict orders to chase the Tomcat when he shows up and give him a good hard bite in the tail if possible to send him on his way. I couldn't believe my eyes to see Bobby Turncoat kissing this terrorist. I thought terriers didn't negotiate with terrorists.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wildairo ties one on.

Echo won the big mustang fight on Sunday. Good job I had no money on it because I would have bet on Wildairo.

After the play fight, Echo chased Wildairo around and around, so I opened the gate and Wildairo zipped right out of there. Our corrals are 'cow sorting' corrals and they come in so handy for sorting out mustangs. The posts need to replaced and the gates fixed though.

I put him in a little pen because Brad was cleaning out his poop palace. Both horses pile the poop in a corner now. Wildairo was so polite in Echo's pen because when he needed to go he went over and used Echo's poo corner.


After the corral was clean, Wildairo had his first tying lesson. We used the Blocker tie ring device because the rope can slowly be pulled through if the horse panics. You can put the rope through the ring twice to make it so it is harder to pull through. Brad welded a ring to attach it to on to the top of a metal post. (Cell phone pictures).


He just stood there like he'd been tethered all his life. So to get him to move a bit we walked away and pretended to eat carrots out of the plastic bag. Wildairo just looked at us and never even tested the rope. He knew he was tied!


Then Brad picked up his front hoof and he reared. That blocker tie ring really works good because it gave Wildairo more rope and he was able to get back on the ground without feeling trapped and getting panicked. Wildairo was frightened and buried his face in Brads chest wanting to be comforted. Brad tried a few more picking up his hoof and Wildairo did the whole rearing and burying his head for comfort thing each time. He tries hard to overcome his fears and wants to please.

Monday the Stranger came. He was armed with all kinds of weapons. Wildairo snorted out "Stranger Danger" to warn everyone. It wasn't a big snort like Echo can pull off though. The Stranger took Foxsun in the barn and...... trimmed his feet. Wildairo peeked at the goings on and reported back to Echo. "The Stranger dragged gramps into the cave and is cutting off his hooves and the old fool is letting him"!

It was pouring with rain and was pretty noisy on the metal roof. Because the farrier was late because of another job and it was getting dark, plus it was pouring with rain and also Wildairo hates going in the building, we decided to trim Wildairo Thursday. We will be sedating him again. This time doing it before the farrier shows up. I will also be sedated. lol. I don't even want to think about it I'm so nervous.

I asked the farrier what he thought of Foxsun's condition and he agreed he was a few pounds too thin but he thought it could be due to his age. He was telling us about his dad's old horse who just died at age 28, he suddenly got old looking and acting and was retired for a few years before he died. He didn't think he was ill. Foxsun has lots to eat in the pasture he's in right now. I will continue to monitor him closely.

The BLM's latest online auction has some lovely horses up for grabs. I found one I really like.


Isn't he lovely. He's a yearling. He comes in my favorite color as well! I keep thinking we could keep him over in the horse pasture area until he's bigger. I expect Brad to talk some sense into me tonight when he comes in.